Netanyahu Aide Questions PM's Pick for Senior State Position

PMO Director General Eyal Gabbai tells appointment panel he does not know the premier's candidate enough to support his promotion to head of civil service.

Trouble in the Prime Minister's Office over the appointment of a permanent civil service commissioner?

Just when it seemed that Justice Ministry legal adviser Moshe Dayan had the position all sewn up, PMO Director General Eyal Gabbai tells the Senior Appointments Committee - whose job it is to confirm the pick - that he cannot recommend Dayan for the job.

Benjamin Netanyahu
Tomer Appelbaum

Dayan is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's only candidate for the office, and was suggested to him by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

Gabbai, who had himself - under Netanyahu's directive - headed an unofficial search committee for the position, told the stunned members of the panel that he did not know Dayan well enough to offer an opinion.

The Senior Appointments Committee, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Dan Arbel, is scheduled to convene tomorrow for its third hearing on Dayan's appointment.

In response to a petition protesting Dayan's appointment - whose seven signatories included several former PMO directors general, sent earlier this month to Netanyahu - the PMO last week issued a statement: "The prime minister always selects the most appropriate and best people, while taking recommendations into account."