Israeli Gov't Approves Netanyahu-Gantz Compromise on Two Senior Appointments

Newly appointed Accountant General Yaheli Rotenberg will have expended responsibilities, while Gantz's close associate tapped as director general of Alternate Prime Minister's Office will lack real authority

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, July 2020.
Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, July 2020. Credit: Tal Shahar / Yediot Ahronot / PO
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

The government approved Sunday the appointment of an accountant general at the Finance Ministry and a director general for Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz's office as part of a compromise reached between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's party and its main coalition partner, Gantz's Kahol Lavan.

Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn of Kahol Lavan did not attend the government meeting in protest of Likud's continued refusal to appoint a director general for the Justice Ministry. Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel of Derech Eretz also boycotted the meeting, saying that the government is busy with insignificant issues and stalls reforms he has been trying to promote.

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Finance Minister Yisrael Katz's pick for the job, Yaheli Rotenberg, was tapped as Israel's accountant general for a five-year term. The account general’s already broad responsibilities will be expanded even further since Israel still has not passed a state budget for 2021, granting him the authority to approve budgetary expenditures.

In contrast, Hod Betzer, who was appointed as the director general at the Alternate Prime Minister's Office and is Gantz's close associate, lacks any real authority. Betzer was the driving force behind the compromise reached between Likud and Kahol Lavan.

Numerous senior appointments have been held up since the government was sworn in May, including for the positions of police commissioner, state prosecutor and several ministerial directors general.

Both Likud and Kahol Lavan have pledged to the High Court of Justice to avoid making senior appointments only during the government's first 100 days in office.

On Monday, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit called on the High Court to issue a temporary injunction in response to a petition calling for the appointment of a permanent director-general at the Justice Ministry.

“Coalition agreements and disputes cannot override the government’s and other authorities’ obligation to take action in order to make permanent appointments to senior positions,” Mendelblit wrote.

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