Will Attorney General Retain 'Superpowers'?

Report: PM intends to block Justice Minister's attempt to separate Attorney General's powers from Government Legal Advisor's.

Ido Ben Porat ,

Weinstein and Shaked
Weinstein and Shaked
Flash 90, Marc Israel Sellem

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opposes an attempt by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) to split the powers of Israel's Attorney General and create a second role, of Legal Advisor to the Government, to be manned by another person.

Under the current system, the same person serves both as Attorney General and Legal Advisor to the Government.

Critics have charged for years that this creates an unhealthy concentration of power in a single office, and a possible conflict of interests. The Attorney General and Legal Advisor to the Government advises ministers on bills and policies they are considering from a legal standpoint, and he also has the power to prosecute them for alleged criminal offenses. This means that if he wants to kill or promote a bill or a policy, ministers may fear going against his wishes, not because they have been convinced by his arguments, but because of the potential power he wields over them.

Channel 2 reported Thursday that Netanyahu opposes Shaked's initiative and will torpedo it.

"The idea of splitting the role of the Legal Advisor to the Government might hamper his ability to fully discharge his duties,” a source in the Prime Minister's Bureau said. “The institution of the Legal Advisor to the Government has a critical role in the system of checks and balances that is a foundation of Israeli democracy.”

"The danger is that splitting the role will narrow the broad systemic view that the Legal Advisor to the Government currently has, and which is required for him to discharge his duty in the best possible way,” the Bureau source said. 

Shaked is currently searching for a candidate to replace Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.