Ben Gvir and AG Tensions Spike over Tel Aviv Police Chief Affair and Petitions

The spat between Itamar Ben Gvir, the National Security Minister, and the attorney general appears to be escalating.

On Monday, he filed a petition with the High Court of Justice to give him permission to have independent counsel in petitions filed against him as well as his ministry.

This came after Gali Baharav-Miara, the Attorney General, requested the minister to provide more information before authorizing such a step.

The minister’s stance

In his High Court filing, the National Security minister complained that he did not have faith in the willingness of the attorney general in representing him in legal proceedings.

He asserted that her behavior towards him was unreasonable, unfair, illegal and disproportionate.

The attorney general had told Ben Gvir on Sunday that his request for independent legal counsel could not be approved until he shares more details about the nature of his request.

On Monday morning, the attorney general’s letter was leaked to the press and Ben Gvir immediately responded that he did not trust her, which further worsened the spat between the two.

The letter from the attorney general was dated on Sunday in which she had noted that Ben Gvir had not coordinated a meeting with her office for discussing the ongoing issues.

She also noted in the letter that the attorney general is the one who has the authority for law interpretation on behalf of the government.

The response

The attorney general also stated that only if there are ‘unusual circumstances’, independent legal counsel is granted.

Ben Gvir said that he did not have any faith in the attorney general, or her decisions and judgement. He criticized her for not consulting him before freezing his decision of removing the Tel Aviv police chief.

On Sunday, Ben Gvir had sent a missive to the attorney general in which he had demanded permission for using independent legal counsel for dealing with the petitions against him.

The issues

The government is almost always represented by the Attorney General’s Office in legal proceedings against legislation, or against it.

Ministers can obtain permission for independent counsel from the office if the attorney general is not in favor of the position of the government.

The petitions that have been filed against the National Security Minister and his ministry deal with legislation as well as the minister himself.

In December, legislation had been passed for expanding the powers granted to the national security minister over the police force and the attorney general has questioned its constitutionality.

Likewise, Ben Gvir’s decision to remove Amichai Eshed from the position of the Tel Aviv District Police Commander has also been questioned in the petition.

According to Baharav-Miara, she had requested a response to the petitions against both issues from his ministry and also asked Ben Gvir for a meeting, but had not gotten an answer.

As far as the request for independent counsel is concerned, the attorney general said Ben Gvir had not specified the cases in which he wanted private counsel and had made a very vague request.

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