Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday acceded to a request for resignation by attorney Yitzhak Molcho, the Israeli premier's close associate and special representative for negotiations with the Palestinians and others.
"I request that you discharge me from my position, which I have been filling on your request for several years on a volunteer basis," Molcho wrote in his resignation letter to the prime minister. "I thank you for allowing me to serve the country."
Molcho is the brother-in-law and partner of attorney David Shimron, another close associate of Netanyahu who is currently under investigation for suspected corruption in the submarine affair, also known as case 3000.
In July, Attorney Shahar Ben-Meir asked Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to bar Molcho from continuing to work as Netanyahu's special envoy, claiming his continued employment under the prime minister constitutes a conflict of interest.
The state was supposed to respond to the petition on Thursday.
"I assume that he resigned for the simple and prosaic reason (which as usual is hidden) that neither the state nor attorney Molcho had or has any way to justify his continued employment to the High Court of Justice," commented Ben-Meir on Molcho's resignation.
"This resignation comes a few years late, and certainly should have taken place immediately upon the exposure of the submarine affair, if not by Molcho himself, by the explicit instruction of the attorney general. And it's still better late than never."
Molcho first asked Netanyahu to relieve him of his duties more than a year ago.
"This time, reluctantly and in the face of your determined stance, I decided to accede to your request," Netanyahu replied, thanking him for agreeing to postpone his departure by four months in order to allow sufficient time to find a suitable replacement.
"I do not need to list the sensitive and important policy tasks you've done," he lauded him. "You did it with a rare combination of talent, experience and comprehensive knowledge of the issues. It is not yet time to reveal all your actions, but I am sure that when that moment comes, the citizens of Israel will greatly appreciate your contribution."
Molcho is set to officially retire from his position at the end of February 2018. He is expected to be replaced with Dr. Dore Gold, a close associate of Netanyahu and former ambassador to the United Nations and director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.