By HERB KEINON
The cabinet decided on Sunday that the selection of the attorney-general will be done the old fashion way: upon recommendation of the justice minister, and not via a five-person search committee.
The cabinet voted to empower Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to interview the four candidates who each received votes of recommendation from three members of the five-member selection committee, and choose - after opening up the decision to public debate - the person he thinks is most suitable for the job.
This name will then be brought to the cabinet, possibly in two weeks, and the ministers will be asked to vote their approval. If the cabinet rejects the recommended candidate, or Neeman does not think that any of the candidates are suitable, the cabinet will have to come up with a new way to select the successor to Menahem Mazuz, whose term ends on January 31.
The decisions to have Neeman recommend a candidate comes after the search committee members gave up last week on agreeing among themselves.
The four candidates are attorney Yehuda Weinstein; the vice president of the Israel Democracy Institute and Bar-Ilan University law professor Yedidya Stern; Tel Aviv University law professor Daphna Barak-Erez; and attorney Zvi Agmon.
The cabinet unanimously voted to approve the new selection process on a one time basis, with only Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon (Labor) abstaining.
Defense Minister and Labor Chairman Ehud Barak said in Sunday's cabinet meeting that his party would only support the candidature of one of the four names that received three votes from the search committee. Barak, who successfully opposed efforts to split the duties of the attorney-general, said that the appointment must be for a full term, with the new attorney-general having the same duties, responsibilities and authority as the outgoing attorney-general.
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