Two members of the Advisory Committee responsible for appointing senior officials to government positions have resigned, clearing the way for the appointments of the next IDF Chief of Staff as well as the Governor of the Bank of Israel.
The resignations of former National Security Council head Brig.-Gen. (Res.) Yaakov Nagel and CPA Iris Stark comes following an interim order by the High Court of Justice to freeze the proceedings of the Goldberg committee which examines the appointments of the Police Commissioner, the IDF Chief of Staff, and the Governor of the Bank of Israel.
Petitions against Nagel and Stark were filed due to their possible conflicts of interests and closeness to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which was feared could influence the nominations, especially the next police chief who would be responsible for leading criminal investigations against the PM.
The petition to the High Court was filed by the Movement for Integrity (Tohar Midot) and accepted by justices Menachem Mazuz, David Mintz and Ofer Grosskopf who granted the request to issue a temporary injunction preventing the committee from meeting until October 7.
In its appeal, the watchdog group insisted that Nagel could not represent the public interest on the committee because he has continued to advise Netanyahu’s government since leaving his post. The group said Stark, a prominent accountant who was recently elected head of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Israel, was too politically active and close to top ministers.
“Since the prime minister is likely to have an interest in the identity of the police commissioner who is expected to be appointed soon, he cannot be involved in the proceedings related to the appointment of the committee that has to approve the appointment of the commissioner,” Justice Menachem Mazuz was quoted by Ynet News as saying at the time.
With the resignations, the committee must now appoint two new members who are not linked to Netanyahu to take their place.
In the wake of the interim order it was not possible to convene the committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge Eliezer Goldberg to hold a discussion on the Chief of Staff and Commissioner positions.
Candidates for senior positions like the chief of staff must by law be vetted by the Senior Appointments Advisory Committee to ensure that they meet all the requirements and are qualified to serve.
Current IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot is set to step down from his role at the beginning of 2019 after serving close to four years as the IDF’s top officer.
Among the candidates to succeed him are his deputy, Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, former Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan, Head of Operations Directorate Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon, and former Head of the Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir.
In a recent interview with Yediot Aharonot, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that he has already decided who he would recommend to replace Eisenkot, as well as his deputy.
It is believed that Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan will not extend the term of current police chief Roni Alsheich for a fourth year when he finishes his term in December.