Gov't Approves Ex-supreme Court Judge to Head Panel Appointing Israeli Army Chief

Naftali Bennett rejected Ayelet Shaked's last-minute request for him to veto Menachum Mazuz's appointment, part of Prime Minister Lapid's bid to expedite the appointment of a new military chief of staff

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Menachem Mazuz.
Menachem Mazuz.Credit: Daniel Tchetchik

The government cabinet approved on Sunday Prime Minister Yair Lapid's appointment of former Supreme Court Justice Menachem Mazuz to head the committee responsible for vetting senior officials, most notably the next Israeli military chief.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked requested Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to use his veto power to block Mazuz's 8-year appointment, but Bennett refused.

Bennett told the cabinet that it would be "irresponsible not to appoint an IDF chief of staff during a particularly sensitive period in Lebanon and Gaza."

In a Saturday night interview with public broadcaster Kan, Shaked charged that the committee is "unnecessary altogether" and that other ministers opposed Mazuz's appointment.

Mazuz's election is part of Lapid's bid to expedite the appointment of a new Israeli chief of staff.

Earlier in July, Israel's Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara gave the green light for Defense Minister Benny Gantz to elect the chief of staff for the Israel Defense Forces, even though he serves in an interim government that will be replaced after Israel heads to polls on November 1.

If confirmed, Mazuz will be replacing the former head of the government's advisory committee on senior appointments Eliezer Goldberg, who passed away in March.

There are currently two main candidates in the running for the top job in the Israeli military: Deputy Chief of Staff Major-General Hertzi Halevi and Major-General Eyal Zamir. According to most estimates, Gantz wants to appoint Halevi to the position.

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