Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) and MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) exchanged unpleasantries Wednesday in a Knesset plenum discussion of the appointment of Shai Nitzan, an attorney known for his far-left views, to the post of State Attorney.
In her reply to Feiglin’s motion for the agenda regarding the appointment, Livni said that “the state of Israel should feel blessed by Nitzan’s appointment. He does not fear the wrath of politicians. He represented his country faithfully.”
She proceeded to attack Feiglin himself. “Since I am talking about the values that the state of Israel is based upon – you are the one who did not obey the laws. You are the one who served time for sedition and incitement. It is because of people like you that he is there.”
Livni was referring to a 1997 sentence that sent Feiglin to six months’ community service for incitement, after his Zo Artzenu movement carried out non-violent protests against the Oslo Accords. The protests had not been coordinated with police.
Feiglin hammered home the theme of public distrust in the legal system. Noting that a Knesset Channel poll showed that no more than 1 in 3 Israelis approve of the appointment of Nitzan, he accused: “You are cutting off the central branch that this system sits on, which is the public's trust.”
Livni’s attack on Feiglin is seen as a reaction to an interview he gave at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, in which he said that the Department for Special Roles created by Nitzan within the State Attorney’s Office for “the sole purpose…of hounding opponents of the regime” was more dangerous than “an organized crime racket that deals in drugs, prostitutes etc.”
It is noteworthy that Livni and Feiglin are both members of the same coalition.