Justice Minister Still Keen to Split Attorney General Position in Two

Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman remains determined to split the role of the attorney general, arguing that it's inconceivable for one person to fulfill all the job's tasks. Neeman was speaking in Eilat over the weekend at a conference of the Tel Aviv and Central District of the Israel Bar Association.

When Neeman took office a year ago, he began pushing for the attorney general's office to be split in two, with one official working as a legal adviser to the government and responsible for civil and administrative law. Another official would head the prosecution.

Neeman's proposals provoked strong resistance from politicians and justice officials alike, including State Prosecutor Moshe Lador and previous attorney general Menachem Mazuz. Lador said in a letter to Justice Ministry prosecutors that splitting the post of attorney general would badly damage the prosecution service.

According to Neeman, "My proposal is that the general prosecution will no longer be subjugated to the government. He added that he had been waiting for the inauguration of Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to promote the plan.

"I didn't want to do it when the incumbent attorney general was opposed, and I understand his opposition. But there are two problems," he said over the weekend.

"One, the scope of the post is not what it was from 1970s to the 1990s. The attorney general's office is the largest law firm in the country, and somebody needs to lead it. The other problem is that the scope of the general prosecution no longer resembles what we had 20 or 30 years ago."

Neeman also said that when he took office he asked Mazuz and Lador not to update him on criminal investigations, and that he was not being informed about any aspect of the Holyland corruption affair.