The search committee to find a new attorney general will reportedly end its work on Sunday evening, when it is expected to hand the names of the final three candidates to Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar. Sa’ar will then, within a week, pick one of them to succeed Avichai Mandelblit after his six years in the role, pending government approval.
The committee will convene Sunday evening, and even though it can continue its discussions for several more days, Hebrew media reports have indicated that its members are interested in concluding the discussions early.
Mandelblit ends his term on Monday night, with State Prosecutor Amit Aisman set to serve as acting attorney general until a permanent replacement enters office.
The selection committee is headed by former Supreme Court chief justice Asher Grunis and includes former justice minister Dan Meridor, New Hope MK Zvi Hauser, Israel Bar Association representative Tami Ulman, and law professor Ron Shapira, the president of the Peres Academic Center.
The selection committee published the final list of nine candidates for the position earlier this month. Any name presented to Sa’ar must be agreed upon by at least four of the five members, and the nominee must go through a vetting process.
Reports have indicated that Sa’ar’s preferred choice is Gali Baharav-Miara, who previously served eight years as the Tel Aviv district attorney for civil affairs. Channel 13 news reported Saturday that Baharav-Miara is expected to be included in the names presented to the justice minister and is, therefore, the frontrunner to get the position.
Two other candidates have been recommended to the committee by Sa’ar. One of them is Raz Nizri, the current deputy attorney general for constitutional affairs.
The other is Roi Scheindorf, the current deputy attorney general for international law.
סערת התובעת בהאג | הד"ר רועי שיינדורף, המשנה ליועמ"ש בתחום המשפט הבינלאומי, אומר ל-@efitriger: "מן הראוי שהשופטים ידחו את בקשת התובעת בהאג, אבל גם אם יוחלט על פתיחת חקירה, נעמוד מול האתגר ונתמודד"
(צילום: אריק סולטן, הארץ) pic.twitter.com/qeuSaE8a17
— גלצ (@GLZRadio) December 22, 2019
The list of candidates also includes judge Michal Agmon-Gonen; Defense Ministry legal adviser Itai Ofir; Bar-Ilan University law professor Ariel Bendor; head of the Kohelet Policy Forum Dr. Aviad Bakshi; Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon; and Hebrew University law professor Barak Medina. (The following photos of them are in that order.)
1. והיום בפינתנו: מיכל אגמון גונן (60, תמונה מאתר הרשות השופטת)
שימשה כעוזרת המשפטית של אהרן ברק.
מברק למדה גם שלא לתת ללשון החוק להגביל את פסיקותיה כאשר היא מבקשת להשיג תוצאה חברתית כלשהי, וספגה בעקבות כך ביקורת רבה ממייצגי המדינה השונים, ואפילו משופטי בית המשפט העליון עצמם. pic.twitter.com/Vm55jqswmr
— התנועה למשילות (@Meshilut) October 5, 2021
ועדת בוחנים במכרז פומבי בניהול נציבות שירות המדינה בחרה היום בעו"ד איתי אופיר לתפקיד היועץ המשפטי למער' הביטחון וראש אגף היועמ"ש במשהב"ט. pic.twitter.com/VmdGuruZO4
— משרד הביטחון (@MoDIsrael) March 20, 2017
מועמד מוביל חדש לתפקיד היועמ"ש – פרופ' אריאל בנדור, איש אקדמיה ובנה של שופטת העליון לשעבר דליה דורנר. הוועדה לבחירתו תתכנס בשבוע הבא pic.twitter.com/JF7oM5CGap
— ynet עדכוני (@ynetalerts) December 7, 2021
— Tal Schneider טל שניידר تال شنايدر (@talschneider) August 8, 2019
— Israel Democracy Institute (@IDIisrael) September 21, 2016
Either Baharav-Miara or Agmon-Gonen, if appointed, would become the first woman to hold the position.
Whoever is selected to replace Mandelblit will have several high-profile cases to deal with. They include the whereabouts of state gifts given to Benjamin Netanyahu that the former premier was ordered to return; a gift of $20,000 that an Australian billionaire gave to ex-Mossad chief Yossi Cohen; and the alleged harassment of state’s witness Shlomo Filber by two Netanyahu aides.
The new appointee will also have to determine whether and how to proceed with negotiations on a plea bargain for Netanyahu, who is on trial in three graft cases and whose lawyers negotiated with Mandeblit, reportedly coming close to a deal, in recent months.
Sa’ar has been seeking to split the attorney general job into two, with one person serving as the government’s legal adviser and another as chief state attorney. He and other conservative critics have argued that the dual role creates a conflict of interest, as the attorney general is tasked with overseeing the prosecution of members of the government whose moves he is also charged with defending.
Mandelblit appeared to strongly denounce Sa’ar’s proposal to split the role in October as a threat to democracy.
Previous attempts to split the role were widely seen as motivated by political or personal interests, since they typically came from governments whose then-prime ministers were facing criminal indictment — including Ehud Olmert in 2007-2008, and Benjamin Netanyahu several years ago.