What We Need in an AG

Mazuz's term as attorney general has given the impression that the attorney general's main focus was criminal law. But that's not the case.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to choose the next attorney general from the four candidates with the most support in the selection committee is justified. It's unfortunate, but Netanyahu is right in saying he sees no reason to appoint a new committee or consider new candidates who have not been discussed in depth by the committee or introduced to the public, as the current candidates have.

When the prime minister has to choose among the four people, clearly he'll pick the best person for the job. Menachem Mazuz's term as attorney general has seen serious indictments against senior government officials, which gave the impression that the attorney general's main focus was criminal law.

But that's not the case. Most of the attorney general's work is in constitutional, administrative and economic law, so in selecting a successor to Mazuz, the cabinet must choose the candidate who has proved the most knowledgeable in these fields.

Two years ago, when the selection committee for state prosecutor was considering candidates, this column said Yehuda Weinstein was the appropriate choice because of his professional standing over many years as a criminal defense attorney. But now a different post is in question, even if it holds ultimate responsibility for the State Prosecutor's Office.

Criminal law is in the hands of State Prosecutor Moshe Lador, who is a top expert on criminal matters and a public servant with integrity who has proved his independence by criticizing Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman's plan to split the functions of the attorney general. Appointing another criminal expert attorney general, while Lador continues at his post as state prosecutor, would create redundancy without a solid basis of knowledge and experience in public law: constitutional, administrative and economic.

Weinstein is among the four candidates chosen by the current selection committee. But it seems an expert should be chosen in the other areas of the attorney general's brief and that sole expertise in criminal law is not what is needed now.