Why was a deputy chief of staff appointed prior to the elections? Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein
on Monday asked the Defense Ministry for clarifications regarding Major-General Gadi Eizenkot's appointment
as deputy IDF chief of staff.
On Monday, it was announced that Defense Minister Ehud Barak
appointed the Northern Command chief following a recommendation by IDF Chief Lt.-Gen Benny Gantz.
Erez Ben-Ari, the defense establishment's legal advisor, recently issued a directive in accordance with Weinstein's guidelines, claiming that Maj.-Gen. Eizenkot cannot be appointed during the election season.
The directive was also distributed to Minister Barak. Having seen his instructions ignored, Weinstein asked the minister for clarifications.
Eizenkot, Barak and Gantz (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
In fact, the attorney general had not been informed of the appointment in advance learning the news from the media.
Ben Ari's directive was based on special guidelines issued by the attorney general ahead of the Knesset elections. The chapter dealing with appointments quotes a High Court of Justice ruling that has set the norm regarding nominations on the eve of elections.
"It is fitting that government officials should avoid making appointments for the public service before a new administration has been established, unless there is crucial need to man a certain position which failing that would create a void that may undermine an important public interest," the ruling read.
Weinstein's guidelines mainly address civil service nominations and do not mention army appointments. Nevertheless, it was stressed that during an election season it is particularly important to make sure politicians do not become involved in appointments.