The attorney general has decided to wage a frontal attack on the corruption within our own camp, the slip-sliding crumbling of our political lives, the sickness that has turned cabinet ministers and MKs into a group controlled by the likes of Uzi Cohen.
Currently, Likud ministers who face election by the Party Central Committee, have to fulfill the demands of the committee members by making political appointments, by a string of personal favors and by advancing individual interests, so that some members of the committee have become in effect businesses, in the line of corruption.
Menachem Mazuz's new instructions aim to cut that umbilical cord between the ministers and the MKs on the one hand and the members of the committee, party hacks and the vote contractors on the other, so that the ministers will work to advance the nation as a whole, and not just the interests of a minority.
According to the new instructions, ministers, their deputies and their directors-general will be forbidden to deal personally with any approach by a party central committee member concerning a personal promotion or business deal. If they do intervene, then this very participation will void any decision taken, and the acts themselves will be open to criminal charges.
Mazuz has taken an important step in the protection of democracy. He is closing a breach in our public lives. However, to complete the move, he must also close the breach of political appointments in state-owned companies and statutory bodies.
These are appointments that have to pass the Ravivi Committee. Ministers come up with their candidates, often party hacks unsuited to the job at hand.
Some 28 percent of directors in these companies are political appointments, unquestionably many of them completely unfit for the job due to their poor standards, their lack of experience or knowledge, such that it becomes a farce.
Supreme Court Judge Theodor Or sharply criticized the Ravivi Committee, in a ruling in the Maurice Nissan case (admittedly in an aside), that political appointments ought not to be just "especially qualified" but their qualifications should be "exceptional", "special" "out of the ordinary" in order to "stop the scourge of political appointments from spreading throughout the state-owned companies."
The trouble was that after these words were said, then attorney general Elyakim Rubinstein came up with lenient instructions for the Ravivi Committee. Rubinstein was not noted for his courage. Nor is the Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander. Just look at the Tzachi Hanegbi affair and his gaggle of political appointments in the Environment Ministry.
State-owned companies ought to operate exactly like private firms, so really there is no reason for political appointments.
Only suitable, and excellent people should be made directors, so it's preferable for an external committee to choose directors and chairmen - not cabinet ministers.
This week we discovered that we have an attorney general of a new breed, one with a backbone, who is not cowed by ministers or Uzi Cohen and his partners. So Mazuz ought to finish the job and close the last crack in the wall - for the good of Israeli ethics and the economy.
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