Ben Gvir to submit bill that would split powers of attorney general

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir (left) speaks during an official Memorial Day ceremony at the Ashdod Military Cemetery, May 13, 2024. (Liron Moldovan/Flash90); Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara addresses the Israel Bar Association's annual conference in Eilat, May 27, 2024. (Courtesy Israel Bar Association)
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir (left) speaks during an official Memorial Day ceremony at the Ashdod Military Cemetery, May 13, 2024. (Liron Moldovan/Flash90); Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara addresses the Israel Bar Association's annual conference in Eilat, May 27, 2024. (Courtesy Israel Bar Association)

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir says he intends to bring back a judicial overhaul-era proposal to split the position of the attorney general and will request that it be brought to a vote in the key Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

Ben Gvir says that he is reviving the bill, a component of the government’s judicial overhaul agenda in 2023, because Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara has not opened an investigation into comments made by new Labor leader Yair Golan in May seemingly encouraging the refusal of reserve duty.

Golan denied doing so, saying he had been speaking hypothetically.

Justice Minister Yariv Levin opposes the bill, however, and there is little chance it will be approved in committee. This means it cannot be advanced as a government bill, but Ben Gvir could push it forward as a private member’s bill.

“The attorney general’s tune on Yair Golan shows us that the institution of the Attorney General’s Office is biased, in particular the current attorney general,” says Ben Gvir, who has clashed repeatedly with Baharav-Miara in his role as minister.

According to his statement, the bill would grant exclusive authority over prosecutions to the state attorney.

Right-wing legislators have long sought to split the position of the attorney general, arguing it combines several powerful roles, including that of the government’s chief lawyer, its legal adviser, and the head of the public prosecution, which proponents of the measure say should not be controlled by one individual.

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