The Arbel committee, which reviews senior public appointments, gave a unanimous nod to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's choice of Moshe Dayan, a lawyer and legal adviser to the Justice Ministry, as the new head of the Civil Service Commission. The prime minister is expected to submit the appointment for cabinet approval shortly, and despite resistance to the nomination from several government ministries, opposition at this stage is not expected.
Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman recommended the choice of Dayan to Netanyahu as a successor to Shmuel Hollander, who served in the post for 14 years. Hollander, who was the subject of a great deal of criticism over his performance, resigned a little more than six and a half months ago.
In explaining their support for Dayan's appointment, the appointment committee, which is headed by retired judge Dan Arbel, noted that Dayan has served as legal adviser to the Justice Ministry for more than eight years and has demonstrated an ability to conduct negotiations and fulfill appointed tasks under pressure. The panel said Dayan is also well-versed in the laws and regulations under which the civil service operates.
The committee called Dayan a "fair, modest person" who has integrity and progressed in his career from within and gained the respect and trust of six justice ministers and the support of three ministry directors general for his candidacy.
The appointment engendered a lot of opposition from within the Prime Minister's Office, at the Finance Ministry and among other public officials, including former directors general of the Prime Minister's Office and prior civil service commissioners. It was also opposed by the Movement for Quality Government and the organization representing senior staff in the public service.
The opponents have said Dayan lacks the required experience and the skills needed for the job. Despite efforts to convince Netanyahu to reconsider Dayan's nomination, however, the prime minister stood behind the candidate. Although opponents of Dayan's appointment attached great importance to a scheduled appearance by Finance Ministry budget director Udi Nissan before the Arbel committee on Monday, he canceled at the last moment for reasons that are not clear.
In a report released yesterday, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss addressed the proper procedure for the screening of senior government appointments, saying: "In the absence of a duty to convene a nominating committee on a cabinet decision to fill a specific post, the appointing authority is entitled to have the assistance of a different mechanism in choosing a candidate for the position, as long as a proper and fair competitive process is followed." In the case of Dayan's appointment, however, there was no such competitive process.
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