Cabinet Appoints Amir Peretz as Head of Israeli Defense Contractor Despite Lack of Qualifications

Despite an appointments committee concluded that Perez lack the required qualifications, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit enabled the cabinet vote on Peretz’s appointment

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Amir Peretz at the Knesset in 2020
Amir Peretz at the Knesset in 2020Credit: Adina Veldman/Knesset spokesperson

The government approved Sunday to approve the appointment of former lawmaker and minister Amir Peretz as chairman of the Israel Aerospace Industries following his disqualification by a senior appointments committee.

The Gilor Committee concluded that Peretz's lacked the necessary skills and that his do not outweigh his political associations with the ministers in charge of the IAI.

“It never occurred to me to boycott Israel. Until Arkansas told me I couldn’t”

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Those in favor of the appointment said it was absurd that a former defense and economy minister, who once also headed the Histadrut labor federation, was found unsuitable to head the board of directors of a government company.

None of the ministers voted against the appointment although Merav Michaeli, Tamar Zandberg and Nitzan Horowitz abstained.

Despite the committee’s conclusion, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit submitted an opinion on Thursday that enabled the vote on Peretz’s appointment.

In his statement, Mendelblit warned the ministers, as he did in 2016, that “the government’s authority to intervene in decisions of the committee is preserved for extraordinary cases only, and it must base its decision on weighty considerations.”

However, TheMarker reported last week that Mendelblit decided there was no legal reason to bring the appointment before the government, as long as the government presented such considerations.

Mendelblit said that while he maintained that the government should give significant weight to the committee’s recommendation, “there is no legal impediment to the government deciding that Peretz has the special skills required, even though his decision raises a legal risk and no small difficulties,” Mendelblit wrote.

So far committee’s decision has been circumvented only once, in 2016, when the government approved the appointment of Yair Shamir as chairman of IAI, although the committee had rejected him for the position. The government at the time asked the appointments committee to reconsider its decision.

In the case of Peretz, a precedent might be set, after Mendelblit allowed the government to vote directly on Peretz’s appointment, without the committee revisiting its decision.

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