Defying Israel’s Attorney General, Justice Minister Taps New State Prosecutor

Justice Minister Amir Ohana appointed Tuesday Central District Deputy Prosecutor Orly Ginsberg Ben-Ari as acting state prosecutor.

The move comes in defiance of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, who announced that he favors the deputy state prosecutor for criminal affairs, Shlomo Lemberger, for acting state prosecutor.

Mendelblit said Tuesday that Ohana's choice is "extremely" unreasonable, and that there is legal impediment to approving it.

Mendelblit wrote to Ohana: "My legal position is that under the circumstances, the appointment of Attorney Ben Ari-Ginzburg to the office of state prosecutor exceeds, in an extreme way, the scope of what is reasonable, and therefore, there is a legal impediment to its approval."

Justice Minister Amir Ohana (L) and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit attending a conference in Tel Aviv, November 2019. Moti Milrod

Ben Ari-Ginzburg will serve in the post until a permanent successor to Shai Nitzan – whose term as the head of the State Prosecutor’s Office ended on Monday – is appointed.

Following the appointment, Civil Service Commissioner Daniel Hershkowitz wrote in a letter to Ohana that the decision to appoint Ben Ari-Ginzburg "might destabilize the proper functioning of the State Prosecutor’s Office," due to her lack of senior experience.

"I would like to emphasize that my stance at this time is that the [acting state prosecutor] should hail from the senior echelon of the State Prosecutor's Office, which is in line with the attorney general’s reccommendation," Hershkowitz wrote in an official letter to Ohana.