Lador’s successor as state attorney to be named

Right-wing activists oppose ‘in-house’ favorite Deputy Attorney-General Shai Nitzan.

lador court 370 (photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
lador court 370
(photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
The appointments committee for naming the next state attorney was set to choose among four candidates to succeed Moshe Lador late Monday night.
Lador, head of the state prosecution, is due to step down in December after finishing his six-year term, with his replacement also receiving a six-year term.
The committee interviewed the final candidates on Monday: Deputy Attorney-General for Special Matters Shai Nitzan, former deputy state attorney Yehoshua Lemberger, Jerusalem District Court Judge Zvi Segal and Tel Aviv District Court Judge Avi Zamir.
Nitzan and Lemberger were considered the favorites as “in-house” candidates from the Justice Ministry, as opposed to the two judges.
Technically, the government gives the final approval for the next state attorney, but the committee’s recommendation is essentially final.
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein chairs the committee.
Its four other members are: Justice Ministry director-general Guy Rothkof, the head representative for state service Moshe Dayan, academic representative Prof.
Ariel Bendor and Israel Bar Association representative Rahel Toran.
The media has speculated, at times based on unclear and always anonymous sources, that Nitzan is the state attorney in waiting because he is Weinstein’s choice and that Rothkof and Dayan will vote with Weinstein, with Toran following suit if that occurs.
A four to one vote is required as a minimum super majority for the appointment.
The same anonymous speculation has argued that Lemberger would be Lador’s chosen replacement and that some of Weinstein’s leaning comes from rewarding Nitzan for loyalty as being one of his “right-hand men,” while not wanting a Lador loyalist in the top legal position right below him in light of what many have called a fractious relationship between him and Lador.
The speculating reports has tended to ignore the fact that Lemberger sided with Weinstein over Lador on the crucial decision of closing the multi-million dollar money laundering “big case” against Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, only indicting him in the smaller Belarusan Ambassador Affair in which he was recently acquitted.
It has also appeared that various right-wing groups were trying to undermine Nitzan’s candidacy, with a last-minute complaint filed at the end of October with the police about a potential conflict of interest in the use of his powers from several years ago.
The police reportedly said the substance of the complaint was insufficient to open an investigation.
Another attempt to influence the process was a complaint to remove Weinstein from the committee, on the grounds that Lemberger had general responsibility for the department that brought charges against Weinstein’s wife for employing an illegal worker.
The government’s heads of ethics on the issue dismissed the request, noting that Lemberger had removed himself from making any decisions relating to the issue and that Weinstein had not been accused of anything improper during the proceedings.
Also, some NGOs known to oppose Nitzan called for the committee to present the government with two candidates and to let the government decide, in an effort to remove what they called an appearance of a rigged process in favor of Nitzan.
Many on the Right take issue with Nitzan as he ordered indictments against right-wing activists for various illegal activities on a number of occasions and took a hard stance on questions of incitement against Arabs.
Lemberger is less wellknown than Nitzan in the public sphere, but spent more time in the Justice Ministry on typical criminal law matters, whereas Nitzan dealt with some of the above political issues, led parts of the state’s efforts against the UN’s Goldstone Report and delegitimization issues and has represented the state on issues of balancing security and law before the Knesset and the High Court of Justice.