Justice minister reportedly wouldn't be averse to staying on
Yacimovich: A black flag flies over Netanyahu's decision to hand the judicial system to Lieberman.
By SHELLY PAZ
As the Likud and Israel Beiteinu negotiate over who will get the Justice portfolio in the next government, a source close to Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann said on Thursday he would not reject an offer to stay on in the position.
While Israel Beiteinu is intent on keeping Friedmann at the Justice Ministry under the next government, Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich attacked the idea on Thursday, saying Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman might be facing criminal indictment.
She also criticized Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu for considering letting Israel Beiteinu decide who runs the ministry.
"A black flag flies over Netanyahu's decision to hand the judicial system to Lieberman. Lieberman, who is suspected of criminal actions, is to be the one to decide who heads this office and is in charge of his political and criminal future. Bibi is returning to the dark days when he himself fought against the rule of law," Yacimovich said.
Friedmann, a former law professor, is not an MK. He was appointed to his post by Kadima, was once a member of the now-defunct Democratic Movement for Change party, and subsequently appeared in the symbolic 120th place on the Knesset candidates list of one of its successor parties, Shinui, in the 2003 elections.
Israel Beiteinu dismissed Yacimovich's accusations and clarified that it was not demanding the portfolio as a condition for joining Netanyahu's government.
"We appreciate Friedmann for the reforms he has advanced during his tenure. He is a real technocrat, a professional appointment, and we have always said that we support more professional appointments," the party's spokeswoman said.
"We regret Yacimovich's hypocrisy; she was a member of the coalition for many months when Friedmann was the justice minister. Clearly her attacks are really conveying messages from senior Likud MKs who see themselves as candidates for the position. We suggest Yacimovich act as spokeswoman for the Labor Party and not for the personal ambitions of other candidates from other parties," the spokeswoman said.
Friedmann's office in Jerusalem declined to comment on the issue.
Meanwhile, a senior Likud official confirmed that despite the fact that the party had supported most of Friedmann's initiatives as justice minister, it would prefer not to give the portfolio to Israel Beiteinu, as Lieberman would reappoint Friedmann.
Off the record, the official said that since Friedmann was "loathed" by almost the entire establishment, it could be problematic to reappoint him. The Likud preferred not to take the risk, the official said.
The official neglected to mention the fact that Likud MKs Reuven Rivlin, former justice minister Dan Meridor and Gideon Sa'ar were interested in the job. Some sources claimed that this ambition explained why Sa'ar had made sure he was one of the Likud's main coalition negotiators.
Kadima would only say on Thursday that its "decision to go to the opposition has nothing to do with Friedmann, and Friedmann entering Netan-yahu's government has nothing to do with Kadima."
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