Michael Boyden

Miki Zohar criticizes the Attorney General

Attorney General, Gali Baharav-Miara, instructed that the removal of Tel Aviv District Commander Amichai Eshed from his position be frozen immediately, questioning the legality of a decision that was widely seen as politically motivated.

In response, Miki Zohar, Minister of Culture and Sports in the present government, is reported as having criticized her ruling stating that: “The Attorney General goes not represent the elected government”.
There could not be a clearer example of how Zohar fails to understand the important distinction between the role of government and that of its legal advisors.

The Attorney General is not there to carry out the government’s beck and call.

The office exists to provide authoritative legal advice to the government and its various branches and to represent the public interest by ensuring the upholding of the law.

It is precisely Miki Zohar’s failure to understand the distinction between what he would like the office of the Attorney General to be and what it is in fact that epitomizes the current constitutional crisis that threatens the democratic character of the State of Israel.

The role of the judiciary is to interpret the law, and not to carry out the will of the elected government. Were the legal system to be beholden to the whims of the government, we would find ourselves in a situation not dissimilar to that of Russia and Turkey.

About the Author
Made aliyah from the UK in 1985, am a former president of the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and am currently rabbi of Kehilat Yonatan in Hod Hasharon, Israel.