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On Thursday, the High Court of Justice gave the state 21 days to explain why Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz will not appoint Moshe Asher as head of the Israel Tax Authority.

"This is changing the rules of the game during the game," the High Court said at Thursday's hearing on Asher's petition against Steinitz.

A search committee established to find the new head of the ITA unanimously nominated Asher but Steinitz has refused to appoint him on the grounds that he lacks the requisite experience and leadership skills.

The three-justice panel, consisting of justices Eliezer Rivlin, Elyakim Rubinstein and Uzi Vogelman, wanted to know whether Steinitz planned on appointing a new search committee and lowering the qualifications needed for the new tax chief, but attorneys representing the state who attended the session avoided answering the questions directly.

Rivlin said he had a hard time understanding what was going on in the case, and called Steinitz's decision not to appoint Asher "problematic."