President of Israel Reuven Rivlin spoke today at the judge's swearing-in ceremony held at the President's Residence, and criticized the Legal Advisor's bill promoted by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked that would change the manner of selecting legal advisors in government ministries from choosing through tender to selection by a sitting minister in accordance with a search committee's recommendation.
"Elected officials were chosen to formulate a policy and implement it for the public. The legal advisors must use all professional tools at their disposal to assist elected officials in fulfilling the elected government's policy. However, this doesn't contradict the basic and first obligation of the legal advisor to the law, which in itself is a clear expression of the public's will," Rivlin said.
"A legal advisor must make an effort to assist the public official in realizing his policy but at the same time he must help him understand the boundaries within which he may act - the limits of the law, as determined by the legislator. This is the role of the legal advisor. And this is the image of the legal advisor we deserve.
"Legal advisors like all of us are human beings. Some are better and some are less good, although in my experience they've generally been very good. The Civil Service must find a way to ensure that its legal advisors are the best of the best. Legal advisors who offer their professional tools to help elected officials implement the policy of the elected government. Legal advisors who see themselves as committed to government policy, and to the policy of the ministry, led by the elected public.
"At the same time, we need independent legal advisors whose commitment to the law and being gatekeepers flows in their veins and constitutes the essence of their professional ethic. I understand elected officials. I too served in one or two roles before I reached this house, and I didn't always agree with the legal advisor's position. However, I believe we must be careful not to weaken one of the important pillars of the executive branch in Israeli democracy."
Rivlin added, "We all want a legal advisor who'll serve all elected officials from anywhere in the political spectrum in exactly the same way. Faithfully, devotedly, professionally, committed to government policy and primarily responsibility to uphold the law."