Nissenkorn Accuses Gantz of Agreeing to Politicize Attorney General, State Attorney Appointments

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Avi Nissenkorn in the Knesset, Jerusalem, December 15, 2020
Avi Nissenkorn in the Knesset, Jerusalem, December 15, 2020Credit: Emil Salman

Outgoing Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn scolded his former political partner, Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz, on Friday for allegedly reaching an agreement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "on the politicization of the appointment process for the attorney general and state prosecutor." 

Nissenkorn posted on Facebook that "the negotiations ... undermine fundamental democratic principles and the values under which we were elected to service the citizens of Israel."

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He also said that Gantz told him he would not rule out running on a joint slate with the far-right Yamina party in the March 2021 election.

Kahol Lavan responded to Nissenkorn's comments by saying that "Avi Nissenkorn sold out the Justice Ministry for the sake of his own political future. There are no limits to his lies. Kahol Lavan will not give up the powers of the Justice Ministry for any price."

Gantz, who now serves as justice minister following Nissenkorn's resignation, said Friday that he spoke to Supreme Court President Esther Hayut and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit: "You will receive all the required support to fulfil your role without fear or prejudice," he said. 

In an interview Friday morning in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Gantz said he felt Nissenkorn had betrayed his trust when he left the party earlier this week: "I cannot tell you that I don't feel the stab in the back and the knife twisting."

Gantz said Nissenkorn violated the coalition agreement with Likud by not setting up a committee to examine appointments: "This is the one and only clause in which there was a violation of the agreement on behalf of Kahol Lavan."

Earlier this week, Nissenkorn announced that he was leaving Kahol Lavan to join former Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai's new The Israelis party amid a mass exodus from Kahol Lavan.

In addition to Nissenkorn, two other ministers and three lawmakers from Kahol Lavan also left the party: Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi; Science Minister Izhar Shay; the chairman of the Knesset's Education, Culture and Sports Committee, Ram Shefa; and lawmakers Asaf Zamir and Miki Haimovich.

According to the most recent Channel 12 News poll, Kahol Lavan is on the verge of falling below the threshhold of four seats for entering the Knesset. The parties must submit their final election slates by February 4. 

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