Gavison Asks High Court to Reinstate His Candidacy for Prison Service Boss

Eli Gavison is no longer in the running to head the Israel Prison Service because it was determined he was less than truthful about unauthorized perks he obtained as head of the service's southern district.

Eli Gavison, whose impending nomination to head the Israel Prison Service was withdrawn on Sunday after it was determined he was less than truthful about unauthorized perks he obtained as head of the service's southern district, is waging a legal battle to win the job.

Gavison petitioned the High Court of Justice yesterday, demanding that it order Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to recant his decision to remove Gavison from consideration.

He is also demanding that the committee responsible for approving the appointments of senior public officials, a panel headed by retired Judge Jacob Turkel, reconvene to determine whether there are any legal issues preventing to his appointment.

Gavison lists Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, Aharonovitch and Jerusalem Police Chief Aharon Franco (who has been tapped as the next IPS chief in lieu of Gavison ) as defendants in the petition.

Aharonovitch based his decision to disqualify Gavison on a legal opinion offered by the attorney general's office, which claimed numerous question marks remained over whether Gavison was fit for the job.

During a lie detector test, Gavison was found to be less than truthful when asked if he arranged for special treatment for prisoners, and whether he received any perks or benefits in exchange for improving prison conditions for inmates.

"There remain question marks as to whether the candidate received requests from relatives or associates regarding the prison conditions of inmates and whether he personally handled these requests," the legal opinion states.

In the petition filed with the High Court, Gavison's attorneys claim that no evidence was found that would point to a character flaw severe enough to deny their client the position of IPS chief.

"The determining factors in this case were insignificant statements and unreliable polygraphs which were administered by a private institution in contravention of procedures and in violation of the instructions handed down by the attorney general," the petition reads.

In addition, Gavison's lawyers hold that no new findings aside from the polygraph results were discovered after the appointment was brought before the Turkel committee for approval.

"By virtue of one lie detector test, whose evidentiary value is insignificant and whose credibility is doubtful, the appointment of a talented officer was nullified without any claim of substance being raised against him," the petition reads.