Moshe Asher petitioning High Court to force state to hire him as top taxman
Justice Salim Joubran decided not to issue an interim injunction Monday that would have blocked the appointment of Doron Arbeli as acting head of the Tax Authority.
Moshe Asher, scorned by the finance minister as leader for Israel's Tax Authority, intends to petition the High Court of Justice. He hopes the court will instruct Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz to make him the agency's permanent chief.
Contrary to what was reported Tuesday, Justice Salim Joubran decided not to issue an interim injunction Monday that would have blocked the appointment of Doron Arbeli as acting head of the Tax Authority.
Arbeli took up the temporary position on Tuesday, replacing Yehuda Nasradishi. Nasradishi left the post on Monday, after staying on for several months after he had announced his retirement, due to the lack of a replacement.
In July, a search committee Steinitz himself appointed unanimously recommended appointing Asher as Nasradishi's permanent replacement. However, the finance minister rejected him without offering an explanation.
Joubran gave Steinitz until Sunday to explain why he had not appointed Asher, as per the committee's recommendation.
Asher is currently the tax assessor for big companies at the Tax Authority, where he is responsible for tax collection.
On Tuesday, Steinitz sent a letter to Asher and the head of the search committee, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, stating: "I concluded that as finance minister I cannot submit Mr. Asher's appointment to the cabinet because he lacks the proven management and leadership experience necessary for this complicated post." He called Asher a "committed and professional worker."
Steinitz had told the cabinet and the Civil Service Commission that Arbeli would be tax commissioner for no more than three months, in keeping with the law on temporary appointments.
Arbeli has been at the Tax Authority for 24 years, most recently serving as the head of customs, where he oversaw 900 employees.
On Tuesday, Weinstein said he would back Steinitz in his decision to appoint Arbeli, despite concerns by officials in the Attorney General's Office that the High Court would reject this.
Steinitz has said he intends to appoint a new search committee. Arbeli has said he will not be a contender.
Sources say that in the new search the requirements may be changed to suit Steinitz and Likud associate Moshe Terry. In the previous round, the committee did not consider Terry, a former Israel Securities Authority head, because he did not meet the requirement of 10 years' experience in taxes.
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