Hollander, citing pressures, wants off appointments panel

Spokesmen for Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman and Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander on Sunday refused to comment on reports that Hollander no longer wants to head the special committee responsible for considering senior civil service appointments. However, it is known that a meeting was held last week to discuss the matter, after Hollander complained that he has been under severe pressure to approve appointments made by ministers to top positions, including the directors-general of the Ministry of Science and the Ministry of Culture and Sport. Hollander, who refused to speak to The Jerusalem Post, has reportedly asked to resign as head of the committee. He referred the Post to the Civil Service Commission spokesman, Aryeh Greenblatt, who said he would not comment on leaks to the media. During the meeting last week, attended by Neeman, Hollander and Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, the participants discussed establishing a new committee to be headed by three public representatives appointed by the government. According to media reports, Neeman will bring the proposal to the cabinet next Sunday for approval. However, Neeman's spokesman, Gil Solomon, told the Post that the minister had not yet made a final decision on the matter. Meanwhile, a Justice Ministry spokesman told the Post that Mazuz was opposed to a government-appointed committee. He said he was prepared to consider one headed by a judge in place of the civil service commissioner. Matters for Hollander reportedly came to a head last week, when the Movement for Quality Government petitioned the High Court of Justice against the cabinet's approval of Sar-Shalom Jerby as director-general of the Science Ministry. Jerby was appointed on June 6 even though the Hollander Committee rejected his nomination on the grounds that he lacked the administrative skills necessary for the job. In addition, Jerby has close political ties with the minister, Daniel Herschkowitz. Jerby, 40, has served as director-general of the National Religious Party, the precursor of Habayit Hayehudi Party, which the minister heads. As a result of the close political ties between Herschkowitz and Jerby, Jerby would have had to demonstrate special skills to justify awarding him the job, according to the procedures in place.