Yoav Galant
Yoav Galant Photo by Moti Milrod
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Retired judge Jacob Turkel is seeking to limit the state comptroller's ability to intervene in the work of the committee that vets government appointees to senior civil service jobs, he said yesterday.

Turkel also called on the Knesset to enact legislation empowering the committee he heads to vet the appointees, since its activities are currently authorized by dint of a cabinet decision.

At a legal conference at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya yesterday, Turkel harshly criticized State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein for their conduct in examining the candidacy of Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant for the position of IDF chief of staff.

Galant was initially tapped by Defense Minister Ehud Barak to succeed Gabi Ashkenazi as army chief, but the appointment was revoked after the attorney general announced that he could not defend Galant's land dealings before the High Court, which was hearing a petition against the prospective hire.

Turkel also spoke about the case of Eli Gavison, who was disqualified from the post of Israel Prison Service chief due to suspected ties with inmates.

"What happened in the appointments of Galant and Gabison was a scuttling from the outside," Turkel said. "[Lindenstrauss] invaded an area that wasn't his, and he began to investigate the [Galant] appointment."

The judge criticized Lindenstrauss for sending the results of his investigation of Galant directly to Weinstein "without sending a copy to my committee."

Turkel is seeking expanded powers and greater jurisdiction for his committee. He told Haaretz that not only should the committee be free to determine the suitability of individuals being considered for a particular appointment, but that it should also be able to examine the factors that led officials to recommend the appointment.

He also said he plans to convene its members for a "reassessment" of each of their job functions and powers, particularly in light of recent appointments that have been subject to the panel's discretion.