Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein’s office sends a letter announcing the probe to the Ometz watchdog organization.
By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMANPublished: JUNE 23, 2010 05:50Advertisement
Deputy attorney-general for legislation Nurit Goren has opened an investigation into whether it would be legal for Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon to go directly from his current post to the chairmanship of the Jewish National Fund, The Jerusalem Post learned on Tuesday.Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein’s office sent a letter announcing the probe to the Ometz watchdog organization, which asked him to intervene in the matter in a June 10 letter. The response from Weinstein’s office to Ometz lawyer Boaz Bentzur said that Goren would look into legal aspects and the facts of the case.“They are checking whether there is a conflict of interest in the agriculture minister leaving to head an organization like JNF, that deals directly with his ministry, and whether there must be a cooling-off period [in-between],” Ometz chairman Aryeh Avneri said.Ometz’s letter to Weinstein compared Simhon’s case to that of formerAgriculture Ministry director-general Yael Shaltiel, who accepted anappointment as director-general of JNF, but only after a cooling-offperiod between the two positions.Simhon was elected to head JNF by the Labor/Meretz/Reform faction ofthe Zionist Congress on Thursday. Israeli Labor delegates boycotted thevote, which current JNF head Effi Stenzler made a point of notparticipating in, because he considered it illegal. A Petah TikvaDistrict Court judge canceled the vote that night in response to apetition from Stenzler.A spokeswoman for Simhon said that “Stenzler should have run in whatshe said was a democratic election by secret ballot in the factioninstead of insisting on fighting the battle in the courts.”But Stenzler said the faction was not the proper forum to decideLabor’s candidate for the post. A final decision in the ongoing courtcase is expected on Sunday afternoon.“I just want Labor to do what it told the court it would do: Holddemocratic elections in its correct institutions,” Stenzler said.
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