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Opposition parties call on AG to bar caretaker government from making senior appointments

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Newly appointed Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara seen during a welcome ceremony for her in Jerusalem on February 8, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Newly appointed Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara seen during a welcome ceremony for her in Jerusalem on February 8, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Leaders of the opposition’s right-wing and religious parties have sent a letter to Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, requesting that she not approve any senior appointments during the period between the dispersal of the Knesset and the swearing-in of a new government after the expected fall election.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz had hoped to appoint the next chief of the Israel Defense Forces ahead of the anticipated coalition collapse, but it appears he will not manage to do so in time, since the Knesset is set to disperse as early as next week.

Permanent appointments of senior officials — such as the chief of police or military — have not traditionally been made during the terms of caretaker governments. Between 2018 and 2020, Israel Police had an acting commissioner amid several rounds of inconclusive elections.

The attorney general can still evaluate the propriety of approving permanent appointments during an interim government, if ones are made. As a result, the opposition parties are demanding Baharav-Miara not allow it under any circumstances until the next government is sworn in.

Gantz was scheduled to meet with two of the three IDF chief candidates today. The four-year tenure of the current IDF chief of general staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, is expected to end in January 2023.

During a briefing shortly after the letter was published, Gantz vows to continue the process of nominating the next IDF chief.

“I plan, as much as possible, to continue to advance this process… and I will let myself say that there is nobody in Israel who knows the candidates better than me,” Gantz says.

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