Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit this evening (Thursday) addressed Finance Minister Israel Katz and clarified to him that "the post of Accountant General cannot be left unmanned." The minister replied that he agreed and would work for the nomination of a candidate already at the next cabinet meeting. Since the retirement of former accountant Roni Hezekiah last month, no deputy has been appointed to the position.
"The role and powers of the Accountant General are of great importance in general, and in the period in which we are in particular," the ombudsman clarified, noting that in his absence "government ministries hold engagements based on the exemption committee only and without obtaining the Accountant General's approval."
"I will clarify that these actions, in the framework of which the government makes significant sums of hundreds of millions of shekels without being given all the approvals required by law, are not lawful and illegal," he added.
According to Mandelblit, "a situation in which there is no incumbent general accountant, and therefore no powers are exercised at all, significantly impairs the government's budgetary conduct."
"Avoidance of appointments of senior officials on a regular basis impairs the stability and proper functioning of the entire civil service, and as such, raises significant legal difficulty. A situation in which he does not serve even if acting is even more difficult," he wrote. "I would at least ask you to act to impose the duties of the Accountant General urgently on an employee of your office, until a permanent appointment, which must also be filled urgently."
Minister Katz replied that he agreed with Mandelblit's position. "The Attorney General is right, a general accountant should be appointed to the Ministry of Finance immediately due to the sensitivity and importance of the position during this special period. I am working tirelessly to make sure this happens at the cabinet meeting this coming Sunday," he said. "There is a candidate who has been unanimously approved by the appointments committee and I expect all parties to take responsibility and allow the appointment to be made."
Following the ombudsman's letter, the appointment of the Accountant General in the Treasury will be approved by the government this coming Sunday and will be added to the agenda of the next cabinet meeting. This, along with another series of appointments delayed in recent weeks in the Likud Deputy Prime Minister Hod Betzer, as well as three other appointments: Chairman of the Airports Authority Council, Appointment of Transport Minister Miri Regev; Israeli Ambassador to Ethiopia, Appointment of Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi; breach.
Earlier this week, Blue and White denied that they had reached an agreement with the Likud on the appointment of Betzer as deputy director general of the Deputy Prime Minister in exchange for the appointment of the Accountant General, but now both appointments have been approved by the Ministry of Justice. The government. This is despite the conditional order issued by the High Court this week.
The Attorney General's remarks follow a similar appeal two weeks ago to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Gantz. So far, they have not gone up for government approval due to a dispute between the Likud and Blue and White on the issue.
In response to Mandelblit's letter, Blue and White announced that they "continue to support the appointment of a Accountant General who is critical to securing the economy of Israeli citizens, the self-employed and the unemployed whose livelihoods were harmed during this difficult time.
Earlier this week, Finance Minister and blue-and-white chairman Bnei Gantz agreed to raise the Accountant General's appointment for approval at the same time as approving the appointment of Deputy Prime Minister Hod Betzer, but after the blue-and-white agreements were announced, they withdrew their denial. Ahead of the upcoming cabinet meeting, the party will try to agree with the Likud on a parallel approval of the Accountant General and the Director General of the Ministry of Justice, whose appointment has been delayed for months.
The previous accountant Hezekiah was not the only one at the top of the Ministry of Finance to announce his resignation during the Corona crisis. In recent months, the director general of the ministry, the Turner-Eyal Foundation, has also been promoted to the position of Shai in the AVD, and the head of the budget department, Shaul Meridor, who left with a stormy slamming door and a scathing letter against the finance minister and government. Although Turner-Eyal did not say what was on her mind out loud, she made sure to clarify through her associates her opinion on the political conduct of the crisis.