Likud MK Threatens A-G Will be Ousted If She Approves Appointment of IDF Chief

By Hamodia Staff

Head of the Blue and White party and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz leads a faction meeting at the Knesset (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM — The battle over the appointment of a new IDF chief of staff intensified on Sunday as the Defense Ministry and a senior Likud MK traded blows over whether such an appointment could be made during an election campaign.

Lawyers in Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s office submitted an opinion to Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara arguing that the appointment was legal and necessary, even though the current government is an interim one, and cited classified information to help make their case, The Times of Israel reported.

Gantz’s office said the legal opinion was accompanied by a classified IDF operational summary and a classified political summary “regarding the security and political challenges Israel is currently facing.”

Sources in the Justice Department were quoted by Ynet as saying that the Defense Ministry’s legal opinion will increase the chances that the attorney general will approve the appointment.

In response, Likud MK Yoav Kisch warned that if Baharav-Miara should approve the appointment, she will be “immediately replaced” if his opposition party wins the election and forms the next government.

“The direct ramification [of such a move] would be to her and her status,” Kisch said in a statement.

When the issue arose last week, Likud sent her a letter asking that the move be disallowed, in keeping with the norm that interim governments do not make senior appointments. But the request did not threaten retaliation if Baharav-Miara would let Gantz go ahead with it.

Kisch’s statement provoked a number of negative reactions.

Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) said “it is very serious that a lawmaker is threatening the attorney general in such a direct manner. This is an intolerable situation that we can’t allow in a democracy. One can argue and disagree with positions of legal advisers, but there is a way to conduct the debate and this isn’t one of them.”

Levy urged Kisch to “take back his remark.”

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar labeled the Likud MK’s threat as “gangsterism.”

Kisch shot back on Twitter: “Clearly, for you everything is permissible.”

Sources close to Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu disavowed Kisch’s remarks, saying that they were not made “with his consent.”

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