Power Struggle Erupts Over Accountant Gen'l Appointees

The director general of the Prime Minister's Office, Raanan Dinur, called over the weekend for removing accountant general Yaron Zelekha's sole authority to appoint ministry accountants, and instead to make them subject to mandatory tenders. The statement reflected the fact that the power struggle between Zelekha and other government decision-makers has reached new heights.

The current policy that allows Zelekha to make appointments without consultations or tenders runs counter to the status quo concerning all other government positions, including sensitive roles such as legal counsel. The law recognized the need to protect the independence of the accountants and the legal advisors, and thus they are not considered ministry employees although they may be directly responsible to a professional director, whether it's the accountant general or the attorney general.

The split between the two erupted after Zelekha informed Dinur a few weeks ago about his intention to appoint a new round of accountants, including a replacement for Sima Fisher at the PMO. Dinur claims he and Zelekha agreed to work together to replace the six-year veteran, and that Zelekha even supplied him a list of candidates. Dinur ruled out one person - Aharon Aharonov - and asked to continue considering the others. Dinur did not explain why he rejected Aharonov, only that the decision came "in light of an opinion I received on him."

However, Zelekha then informed the PMO's director general that he had already decided to appoint Aharonov, Dinur asserts. Zelekha considers Aharonov to be one of the most experienced and best accountants in government.

Dinur responded that because the appointment was made without his agreement, he would prevent Aharonov from entering the PMO. He also retorted he would act to curtail Zelekha's authority, as was stated.

Zelekha denies that an agreement was made with Dinur and only supplied the list of names to show that Aharonov's appointment was done professionally.

Zelekha: "It's not my job to defend proper administration from attempts made to change the rules of the game."