Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan
Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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The government Sunday approved the appointment of Shai Nitzan as deputy attorney general for special assignments, as well as the appointment of Dina Silber as deputy attorney general.

Responding to heavy pressure from settlers and right-wing ministers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman clarified at the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday morning that Nitzan will not deal with settlement issues, but rather with issues as directed by  Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

During the weekend, ministers were hit by a deluge of text messages from right-wing activists and settlers who opposed Nitzan’s appointment. Claiming that Nitzan is hostile to the settlement enterprise, the settler lobby demanded that his appointment be rejected.

“We’re under the impression that again, we’re appointing someone who is controversial. Lately there have been several disagreements between the government and High Court of Justice, and we want to be positive that despite the appointment, the government’s position [concerning settlements] will be expressed,” said Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz. Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat also voiced her reservations.

Nitzan was considered the settlers’ nemesis in his previous assignments. Among other issues, he was responsible for investigations and indictments dealing with freedom of speech, and issued several administrative detention orders against settlers. These and other decisions often incensed right-wing activists and leaders.

The prime minister and justice minister stressed that Shai Nitzan will not deal with settlement issues and the second deputy attorney general, Dina Silber, will receive all the authority and assignments of her predecessor, Mike Blass. This includes dealing with settlements. Following these clarifications, Katz, Livnat and other ministers decided to vote in favor of Nitzan’s appointment.

Nitzan will spend the next two years in the post especially designed for him by Weinstein, and is expected to help the attorney general mostly regarding defense- and security-related issues.