Mazuz Takes His Leave of the Cabinet

The government parted yesterday with outgoing attorney general Menachem Mazuz, and his place will be taken today by the new appointee, Yehuda Weinstein.

"Over the last few years, it seems that the idea of the importance of the justice system and the respect for the law and its servants have become foreign to certain parts of Israeli society," Mazuz said in his parting speech. "This is a dangerous phenomenon."

Mazuz added that when criticism of the legal system turns into personal attacks against individuals and institutions, this endangers the very foundations of society.

He noted the incident last week in which a shoe was thrown at Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, branding it "ugly and dangerous."

Mazuz said he didn't seek to establish a direct link between the personal and institutional attacks against the court and the shoe-thrower, but said the incident was a "a warning sign to all of us of how low things can go and what rotten fruit can come from a distorted public discourse and norms of violence accepted in the Israeli society."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the beginning of the meeting that Mazuz "toiled long and hard in the coal mines of public service." He said Mazuz has set an example of a serious, responsible attorney general "with wisdom and a sense of national responsibility."