State attorney: It would be 'unhealthy' for Friedmann to appoint his successor

Shendar's comments were the highlight of the final day of the Movement for Quality Government's annual conference.

Although public corruption was listed as the theme of the final day of the Movement for Quality Government's annual conference Wednesday, the pointed comments launched by State Attorney Eran Shendar at Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann stole the show. The comments were the latest in the seemingly endless slugfest between Shendar and Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz on one side, and Friedmann on the other. "We must beware of being pulled in by statements that the enforcement authorities are acting out of some political agenda or external considerations. Statements such as these are without all realistic justification and must be completely removed from the public discourse," said Shendar, speaking at a panel discussion on the subject of "threats to the law enforcement system." Shendar had earlier requested to be allowed to speak before the discussion began and used the podium to engage in genteel mudslinging - without specifying names. "Anybody who acts to engrave upon the public conscience the idea that there is the possibility - even the smallest possibility - that cases are "built" adds significantly to the erosion of faith in the law enforcement system," he added. The comments were directed against, among others, Friedmann, who has repeatedly made veiled hints at the possibility of Mazuz pursuing him on legal allegations as a result of the known animosity between them. But speaking with reporters after his talk, Shendar was less coy - and more specific. "In a situation in which the next state attorney will have to deal with the prime minister's involvement in the Bank Leumi case, the fact that Olmert directly appointed Friedmann, who would be responsible for appointing the state attorney, is an unhealthy triangle." After acquiescing earlier this week to a compromise plan regarding the selection of the next attorney-general, Friedmann has been pressing for a change that will allow him to select Shendar's successor. Shendar announced months ago that he plans to leave his post in August. Following the Shendar panel, the Finance Ministry's crusading Accountant-General Yaron Zelekha was clearly the audience favorite. Following a climactic speech, Zelekha begged the audience's forgiveness for veering off the subject and took a minute to offer his vote of confidence for Shendar and Mazuz's efforts to fight corruption. Zelekha famously ran afoul of his then-boss Olmert when his testimony proved to be the cornerstone of State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss's probe into the Bank Leumi affair. Other speakers at the closing day of the three-day conference included Lindenstrauss himself, as well as retired supreme court justice Michael Zamir, retired district court judge Vardi Zeiler, and former police investigations and intelligence chief Cmdr. (ret.) Moshe Mizrahi.