Attorney General Gali Bahrav-Miara told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that he cannot get involved in his government’s efforts to radically change the law and justice system because of a conflict of interest due to his ongoing corruption trial.
In a filing with the High Court of Justice filed hours later, Netanyahu said he viewed Baharov-Miara’s position on the issue as “unacceptable.” He also requested two weeks for a full reply to his letter.
The attorney general’s announcement drew sharp reactions from leaders of all parties in the coalition, who said in a joint statement that it flew in the face of the “unclear mandate” received by the government in the election.
Baharav-Miara’s warning followed A petition has been filed The movement for quality government in Israel asked the High Court of Justice last month to demand that the attorney general draw up an updated conflict of interest regime for Netanyahu after he took office again as prime minister in January.
Also on Thursday, the Haaretz daily reported that the threat level for Baharov-Miara had been raised to the highest possible level, with security agencies citing “genuine concern” that he could be harmed. The report said that the security detail around the Attorney-General will be increased.
In her letter, made public on Thursday, Bahrav-Miara wrote to Netanyahu: “In your role as prime minister, you must refrain from initiatives involving the legal system within the framework known as ‘legal reform.’
“It is because of the reasonable suspicion of a conflict of interest between the issues related to the legal process against you, and the format of the legislative initiatives and their key elements” that the government is moving forward with its legal reform package, he continued.
“This includes direct or indirect action or direction through others, including the involvement of officials working in your office as political appointees,” the attorney general added.
Among the government’s proposed legal amendments is legislation that would give the government an automatic majority on committees that select judges for each of the country’s courts, including the Supreme Court.
If Netanyahu is found guilty of the corruption charges against him in a trial currently underway in the Jerusalem District Court, he can appeal the conviction to the Supreme Court, where his government can appoint him to his term.
Prime Minister Dr In an interview given to CNN on Tuesday, Dr That he was willing to “hear counter-offers” to the comprehensive legal reform package his government is proposing, in the sense that he is involved in how the reforms are formulated and progressed.
The heads of the coalition parties condemned the attorney general’s letter, saying in a joint statement that his position “totally contradicts the unequivocal mandate we received from Israeli citizens in the elections” and that they “totally reject” his position.
“It has no connection between legal reforms [Justice Minister] Yariv Levin whose mission is to restore democracy in Israel, and Prime Minister Affairs,” they continued, though Levin Tie two During a speech in the Knesset last month.
“Those who have a conflict of interest are actually legal advisors. With one hand they are fighting reforms in public and in the Knesset, which will affect their status, and with the other hand they are using their position to thwart it.”
A Likud spokesman said the statement was issued on behalf of Netanyahu along with Shas leader Aryeh Deri, United Torah Judaism leader Yitzhak Goldkonpf, Religious Judaism leader Bezalel Smotrich, Otzma Jewish leader Itamar Ben Gvir and Noam leader Avi Maoz.
The Movement for Quality Government welcomed the attorney general’s warning to Netanyahu, saying the prime minister should “immediately withdraw his hands from the destruction of Israel’s legal and democratic system.”
Netanyahu’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Justice Minister Levin strongly criticized Bahrao-Miara’s letter and accused her of a conflict of interest.
I note that some of the proposed reforms will affect the position of the Attorney General and Government Legal Advisers more generally.
“It seems that conflict of interest is a very strange thing. “An elected official is prohibited from speaking about reforms in legal counsel, but the attorney general and his staff are allowed to block reforms that directly affect their powers,” Levin said.
In January, Bahrav-Miara filed an opinion with the High Court that the conflict of interest agreement drawn up by his predecessor Avichai Mandelblit for Netanyahu in 2020 was still in effect.
Under the arrangement, Netanyahu cannot be involved in matters that affect witnesses or other defendants in his trial, or legislation that affects legal proceedings against him.
He cannot interfere in the status of several top police and prosecution officers, in various areas under the charge of the Ministry of Communications or in the Judicial Select Committee.
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