The appointment of Herzl (Herzi) Halevi as the next IDF chief will be delayed after the High Court for Justice ruled on Thursday to freeze appointments made by Israel's currently serving interim government.
The justices unanimously annulled the appointment of former Supreme Court Justice Menachem Mazuz to the powerful Senior Appointments Advisory Committee which vets the appointments of senior Israeli office holders.
The panel allowed Mazuz to hold office only for Halevi's vetting instead of a full eight-year term. Mazuz rejected the offer.
Mazuz blasted the ruling, saying that "I respect the court's decision, although I believe the decision is erroneous and does not reflect the nature of the committee and its purpose. Under these circumstances, I can't accept the position of chairman of the Senior Appointments Advisory Committee in the manner set forth."
The judges ruled that a permanent appointment for Mazuz would be inappropriate during an election campaign, despite receiving the nod from Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara in July amid protests from opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu who called to avoid naming a new military chief in the midst of an election campaign.
Surprisingly, Baharav-Miara's representatives supported the High Court's decision.
The judges determined that while a temporary appointment for the position is reasonable, they had no other option than to strike the appointment down once Baharav-Miara called to make it permanent.
"Although in principle, according to the law, and in accordance with the directive of the attorney general, there is a possibility to order a permanent appointment even during an election period - it should be remembered that the starting point in this context is to avoid making appointments as much as possible", the panel wrote in its ruling.
"Even when a specific need for a mandatory appointment is formed, a temporary appointment must be preferred over a permanent appointment, except in exceptional cases."