Israel AG rejects Ben Gvir appeal to cancel police appointments approved by outgoing Minister

Far-right MK Itamar Ben-Gvir (Ahmad Gharabli - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  December 8, 2022

Israeli Attorney General, Gali Baharav-Miara, rejected on Thursday an appeal filed by incoming National Security Minister and head of the far- right Otzma Yehudit Party, Itamar Ben Gvir, to cancel the appointments of several top police officials, which were approved in recent days by Israel Police chief, Kobi Shabtai, and the outgoing Police Minister, Omer Barlev.

In his appeal, Ben Gvir, who is slated to become responsible for the police in Israel’s incoming coalition government, argued that the appointments, approved only days before his expected entry into the post, are illegitimate and may be an attempt to tie his hands.

However, Baharav-Miara replied that the appointments, including of a new chief of Border Police in the West Bank, were indeed “problematic” and should have been done only after seeking counsel with her office, and yet “the appointments have already entered into effect and are a done deal, and the ability to intervene legally is limited.”

Remarking on Baharav-Miara’s decision, Ben- Gvir hinted that he intends to go to the Supreme Court to cancel the appointment.

The new appointments’ crisis is exacerbated by Shabtai’s recent announcement that he will not attend a ceremony to welcome the new officers, slated to take place Thursday, under the pretext of having to undergo “medical examinations”.

Shabtai had asked Bar-Lev to delay approving the appointments, which he had requested himself, after Ben Gvir had accused him of having made them in a hasty manner.

Despite Shabtai’s claim that he will undergo “a medical examination”, the Israeli public radio (Kan) revealed that Shabtai will participate in a family celebration in Ben Gvir’s house in a settlement outpost in Hebron.