Israeli AG Approves Move Allowing Dismissal of Yogev as Government Companies Head

Proposal OK'd by Avichai Mendelblit to be submitted at Sunday cabinet meeting.

Incoming Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit with his predecessor, Yehuda Weinstein, in the official ceremony in Jerusalem, February 1, 2016.
Olivier Fitoussi

Avichai Mendelblit, who took office as attorney general at the end of last month, gave his approval Tuesday for a change in procedure that would clear the last hurdle to the removal from office of Uri Yogev, director of the Government Companies Authority.

Mendelblit gave his nod to have a proposal submitted at Sunday’s cabinet meeting by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked that would strip the authority held by the Turkel committee on senior government appointments to dismiss senior civil servants such as Yogev. Instead, such matters would be decided by a committee headed by Civil Service Commissioner Moshe Dayan.

The cabinet will be presented with a resolution that would alter a cabinet decision from 2008 that gave authority to the senior appointments committee currently headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel to pass judgment on the dismissal of senior civil servants and regulatory agency officials. The 2008 decision was taken in an effort to insulate such decisions from political influence.

Mendelblit’s office said he took his decision based on the argument that the cabinet is authorized to make changes to the current system, although his office said Mendelblit would also bring legal difficulties presented by the proposed change to the attention of members of the cabinet. Mendelblit’s decision, his office added, does not relate to any particular office holder, an apparent reference to Yogev.