Caught in clash between Israel’s branches, justice minister’s pick withdraws as State Attorney

The acting State Attorney withdrew from the position on Friday, saying she had become caught between larger forces.

By World Israel News Staff

Orly Ginsberg Ben-Ari, chosen by Justice Minister Amir Ohana to become acting State Attorney, withdrew from the position on Friday.

Ben-Ari found herself in the middle of a tug-of-war between the legislative and judicial branches.

She thanked Ohana and regretted the “attempt to turn my selection into a political matter and present it as part of an effort to hurt the rule of law.”

“The atmosphere that has been created threatens to hurt public trust in the prosecution and erode it even further,” she said. “I won’t have the justice system hurt further on my account, so long as I’m able to prevent it.”

Minutes before Ben-Ari was to attend a transition ceremony on Wednesday in which she was to accept the position, Israel’s Supreme Court froze her appointment.

Ohana had picked her over the first, and only, choice of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. Mandelblit, at the ceremony, said he had “no intention of compromising how we operate” and promised to fight the appointment.

The behavior of Mandelblit and the High Court appeared to give credence to Ohana’s position, and one held by much of Israel’s right-wing, that the judicial system has arrogated too much power to itself and must be reined in, particularly as there was no legal argument to prevent the appointment of Ben-Ari.

On a Saturday evening talk show, Ohana expressed disappointment that Ben-Ari had decided to withdraw, noting that she clearly faced “heavy pressure,” likening it to a gun placed on the table in front of her.

“It saddens me greatly that this is what the system looks like. It saddens me and also in my eyes demands examination,” he said.

Ohana said one of the reasons he picked Ben-Ari was her humility. “That is what the prosecution needs,” he said.

He didn’t give an indication as to whom he would choose next, only that it would need to be someone with courage.

“I ask myself — who will agree to enter this inferno? They see how the system is run and how [unelected clerks] attack and slander in the media,” he said.