After Liberman: Now Weinstein Faces Accusations

In an ironic twist, Attorney General accused of crimes related to appointment of his deputy.

Maayana Miskin ,

Yehuda Weinstein
Yehuda Weinstein
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Movement for Governance and Democracy has filed a suit to the High Court against Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and the recently appointed Deputy Attorney General, Erez Kaminetz.

The group has accused Weinstein of overstepping the limits of his authority to the point of committing a crime, and of hiding information on Kaminetz from government ministers who were asked to authorize the appointment.

It is asking the High Court to postpone Kaminetz’s entrance into his new position until the matter can be clarified.

The High Court has given the Justice Ministry until the end of the month to submit its reply to the appeal.

The accusations come just days after a court found MK Avigdor Liberman, the former and future Foreign Minister, not guilty on charges relating to the appointment of an ambassador. Following the acquittal Weinstein’s office faced accusations of overzealously pursuing Liberman for political reasons.

Kaminetz was accused of overstepping his authority in the past, the Movement argued. “Despite appeals that were made at the time, no disciplinary measures were taken. On the contrary, Attorney Erez Kaminetz was promoted… The accusations against him were not brought to the attention of the committee that recommended his appointment, or to that of the government which authorized it,” the group wrote in its suit.

In July, Kaminetz – acting in accordance with Weinstein’s wishes - published an opinion regarding the candidacy of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, for the position of Chief Rabbi of Israel. Kaminetz released material from an investigation against Rabbi Eliyahu that had been closed several years earlier due to lack of evidence.

The material was released not only to the committee that voted for the Chief Rabbi, but also to the media and to the public.

At the time the Movement for Governance and Democracy set a complaint to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, arguing that Kaminetz’s act constituted a violation of Rabbi Eliyahu’s privacy, and a misuse of investigation materials. The complaint did not receive a response.

Several weeks ago, when it was announced that Kaminetz would be appointed as the deputy Attorney General, the movement turned to Livni again to ask about the Justice Ministry’s response to its previous complaint. There was no response.

After Kaminetz was appointed the Justice Ministry replied to the Movement for Governance and Democracy’s follow-up request. Ministry officials argued that they had seen no need to inform the appointment committee of the accusations against Kaminetz, which, they said, lacked a substantial basis.

“We would expect that the ministry that is responsible for upholding the law would know how to examine itself, not that it would behave like no law applies to it,” Movement sources said. The disappointing response is what led them to turn to the High Court, they added.