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'Collision is preferable to a bad compromise,' says former attorney general regarding judicial overhaul

Israel's former attorney general, a confidant of Netanyahu, says Israeli democracy is necessary to preserve the judiciary’s independence

Avichai Mandelblit, former attorney general, attends a Conference of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), in Tel Aviv, Dec. 28, 2022. (Photo: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

A former Israeli attorney general blasted the government’s controversial legal overhaul plans on Sunday.

Avichai Mandelblit, who served as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Cabinet secretary from 2013-2016, and was then appointed as attorney general, was once considered a close confidant of Israel's top diplomat.

The normally soft-spoken Mandelblit said political clashes were better than a bad compromise that would ultimately hurt Israel’s long-term standing. He also warned that Israel is in “a historic period that will be remembered for generations.”

“Collision is preferable to a bad compromise,” Mandelblit told Channel 13 news. “Israel will cease being a democracy.” 

The former attorney general stressed the importance of preserving the judiciary’s independence for Israeli democracy. 

“The judiciary’s independence must be preserved under any condition and this is critical – no political appointments. More important is the independence of the attorney general and the legal advisors in government ministries,” he said. 

Critics fear that the Netanyahu government’s judicial reforms will give the ruling coalition full control over the selection of judges and senior officials, even if only holding a one-seat majority. 

The issue is no longer merely theoretical.

Last Thursday, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir dismissed Tel Aviv District Police Chief Amichai Eshed after blaming him for not preventing anti-government protesters from blocking Israel's busy Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv.

Mandelblit strongly criticized Ben Gvir’s treatment of the Tel Aviv police chief and said he was “very concerned about the timing and Ben Gvir’s remarks surrounding the ousting of the Tel Aviv district commander.” 

“Does a round of appointments happen exactly on the day the minister angrily says he isn’t satisfied with the district commander’s conduct?” he said.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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