A new species of State Comptroller
No longer two thick volumes that are issued annually and quickly find their way into storage, but an awe-inspiring institution that will cause any potential criminal to think a thousand times whether it's worth his while to find himself under investigation by Dan Avi-Yitzhak.
Micha Lindenstrauss is a friendly and easygoing person. He is president of the Haifa District Court and also chair of the judges' representatives. In the latter post, he led the judges' struggle against a plan to reduce their pension percentages, which was an unjustified and unethical battle. Why should the percentage of judges' pensions be higher than those of directors general, Knesset members, ministers and the prime minister? Is their blood redder? Lindenstrauss also led the militant struggle against the lawyers' rating of the conduct of judges, instituted by the Israel Bar Association. But what's wrong with introducing some criticism of judges?
Lindenstrauss is the heart and soul of the establishment. It is no accident that he is the only candidate for the position of State Comptroller, after being recommended for the job by 20 MKs from various factions. The MKs want quiet. They want a comptroller who will continue the present system, in which every year two voluminous reports are submitted to the Knesset and public that gather dust on forgotten shelves afterward. They want a comptroller who will continue the policy of not publishing names, of not repairing defects, of not serving criminal indictments against all transgressors.
Outgoing State Comptroller Justice Eliezer Goldberg recently said that he is "very concerned about the attempt to make the civil service political." He was referring to the destructive process that has turned the Likud Central Committee into a despot that dominates our lives. Once, in order to get work, you needed a "red card," proof of membership in the Histadrut labor federation. Today you need a membership card in the Likud Central Committee. With this card, ministers and MKs will grovel at your feet, appoint you to any job, honor you at any event - as long as you vote for them in the central committee. The result is a rotten regime, in which the most corrupt, rather than the best, reign.
When Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz was asked recently to explain the large number of political appointments in his ministry, he answered without embarrassment that all the appointments were made by his assistants, without his knowledge. What wonderful mind-reading assistants Katz has. Nor have we forgotten the mother of all corruption incidents, the basis for all capital-government ties - the Greek Island affair, in which businessman David Appel employed the inexperienced Gilad Sharon, the prime minister's son, for NIS 2.9 million!, in a project that has yet to see the light of day, and never will.
During the present period, which reminds many of the corruption preceding the 1992 elections and the "corruption at the top" preceding the 1977 elections, we are in need of a new type of State Comptroller. Someone whose very name will spur ministers Tzachi Hanegbi and Katz into immediately canceling all their political appointments. Someone whose very name will raise a shudder among all politicians and civil service directors, who will say to themselves: anything but being cross-examined by him. That man is Dan Avi-Yitzhak.
This week, Avi-Yitzhak announced his retirement from law after 46 years in the profession. He is a person without friends and without accounts to settle. He is a person from outside the establishment. A lone wolf. Not nice. He doesn't owe anyone anything. The fact that he has defended several "bad guys" is not a problem, because that is the job of a criminal lawyer, and everyone has a right to be defended.
Avi-Yitzhak is also a thorough type, who personally deals with every subject from beginning to end, without assistants and attendants. He is a great believer in details, and he reads all the hundreds of documents and thousands of pages in every file, because he doesn't rely on the material that someone else has chewed up and summarized. He is a master at cross-examination, and is capable of interrogating witnesses thoroughly for days on end - until another truth in the overall picture is revealed.
His appointment as State Comptroller would agitate the system. He is the man we need now. He will shake up the establishment. During his term, the criticism will change completely. No longer two thick volumes that are issued annually and quickly find their way into storage, but an awe-inspiring institution that will cause any potential criminal to think a thousand times whether it's worth his while to find himself under investigation by Dan Avi-Yitzhak.