Ben-Ari Gives Up on State Prosecutor Job

Justice Minister Amir Ohana. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

With the decision by Orly Ben-Ari Ginzberg to recuse herself from being considered for the position of State Prosecutor, Justice Minister Amir Ohana said Motzoei Shabbos that he would be presenting another candidate. “The law in Israel instructs us to nominate an individual for this position, even if it is only temporary. It is clear to me that the opinion of the State Attorney and his comments were unreasonable.”

After nearly a week of hectoring by State Attorney Avichai Mandelblit, who vociferously opposed the appointment of Ben-Ari to the post, the nominated State Prosecutor late Friday informed Ohana that she was taking her name out of consideration for the post. Channel 12 reported that she had told confidantes that she was being dragged into a “turf war” between Ohana and Mandelblit, and she was not interested in being involved. “I was chosen by the State Attorney to fulfill the post and I am positive I can do the job successfully,” she said in an official statement, and that she was sorry she would not get the opportunity to do so.

Mandelblit had sharply denounced the decision to appoint Ben-Ari to the post. In a harsh letter to Ohana, Mandelblit wrote that “this appointment radically veers from the expected reasonable criteria for appointments, and there is sufficient legal ground to bar it.” Ben-Ari is not at the professional level required for this position, and the appointment “violates the principle that such appointments must be above suspicion.” In recent weeks, Mandelblit has expressed the opinion that Ohana should not appoint a temporary prosecutor at all – despite the fact that the law authorizes him to do so.

Ohana said Motzoei Shabbos that “it’s clear that there was heavy pressure on Ben-Ari that led to her decision. I don’t know why this pressure was applied or who exactly is responsible. But it saddens me that the system works like this.”

Ohana last Tuesday announced that he had selected Ben-Ari as the temporary State Prosecutor, after weeks of speculation on who his choice would be. Ben-Ari is taking over for Shai Nitzan, who this week retired from the post. Because the government is currently only a transfer one, an official State Prosecutor cannot be named, and Ben-Ari is an interim appointment until such time as a permanent prosecutor can be appointed. Ben-Ari has served in the Prosecutor’s office for 28 years, and her last job was deputy prosecutor of the Central District.