Israel’s Supreme Court on Thursday agreed unanimously agreed with a petition requesting the cancellation of the eight-year term appointment of former Justice Meni Mazuz as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Appointments to Senior Positions. The petition argued that the Lapid government, by virtue of its being a temporary caretaker, is not entitled to make such long-term appointments which would run well into the terms of the next two, three, four or even more governments.
Retired Justice Mazuz refused to serve as temporary chairman arguing that serving only long enough to process the appointment of the next IDF chief of staff would harm his authority as an unbiased arbiter. But the real fight was between the Supreme Court and the new Attorney General, Gali Baharav Miara, who recommended to Prime Minister Lapid to appoint Mazuz to the full term.
Justice Noam Solberg insisted that a caretaker government should avoid making any high-level appointments, out of consideration for the next government. Solberg asked the AG to accept the compromise of an ad-hoc appointment for Mazuz, or the court would have to kill the appointment altogether. Baharav Miara put up a fight and refused to compromise, which cost her a humiliating defeat and a serious blow to her future relationship with the court.
Some in the Likud, which at the moment appears to have a slight advantage in the polls over the left-wing bloc, have threatened to sack the AG when they take over, although Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu rejected those notions.
The Lavi organization, which filed the appeal, issued a statement Thursday saying, “The State of Israel today took a significant step toward an egalitarian legal system that applies identical standards to all the political actors.”
Update: On Friday, Amit Segal reported that retired judge Elyakim Rubenstein will replace Mezuz as temporary head of the appointments committee, in order that the next IDF Choef of Staff can be selected.