Menachem Mazuz

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Menachem Mazuz

Menachem Mazuz (Hebrew: מנחם מזוז‎; born April 30, 1955; better known in Israel as "Meni Mazuz") is an Israeli jurist and Supreme Court justice, who served as the Israeli Attorney General in the years 2004-2010. Mazuz was born in Djerba, Tunisia, the fifth in a family of nine children of the rabbi of one of the island's Jewish communities. His family immigrated to Israel during his childhood, settling in Netivot.[1]

Mazuz served his compulsory military service in the IDF Armor Corps, and then studied law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, earning his law degree in 1980 specializing in public and administrative law. Upon graduation, he worked in the Ministry of Justice for several years in a number of tasks, including processing petitions to the Supreme Court. During this time he was also teaching public and administrative law at the Hebrew University. From 1991 through 1995, he served as one of the advisors coordinating legal aspects of Israel's negotiations with Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. In 1995, he was appointed Deputy Attorney General, and served in that position for ten years.

In January 2004, Mazuz was appointed Attorney General. At the time of the appointment, he was seen as a career civil servant with little political or criminal-law experience. However, the circumstances of his appointment drew considerable interest because Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his sons were under investigation by the Attorney General's office for campaign-finance irregularities relating to his 1999 campaign for leadership of the Likud party.

When Mazuz's predecessor Elyakim Rubinstein resigned to accept appointment to the Supreme Court, Mazuz was chosen by Justice Minister Yosef Lapid; his selection and confirmation were carried out without the involvement of Sharon or vice-premier Ehud Olmert (also a target of the campaign-finance investigation) who both abstained in order to avoid a conflict of interest.

Upon taking office, Mazuz said he would vigorously pursue the case against Sharon, earning him contrasts in the media with Rubinstein, who had been accused of moving too slowly on the matter. In the summer of 2005, he secured the indictment of Ariel Sharon's son Omri on corruption charges, but decided not to charge Ariel Sharon himself and his other son, Gilad.

Mazuz adopted a hardline legal approach towards demonstrators opposing the destruction of the Jewish towns of Gush Katif. While stating that measures will be taken against violent demonstrators, and that detained protestors would not be given a collective pardon, he also forbade a demonstration in the town of Sderot. After the successful and relatively peaceful completion of the retreat, Mazuz said that it was freedom of demonstration which prevented the operation from escalating into a violent one.

Mazuz faced harsh criticism following his decision, given in January 2005, according to which Israeli Arabs are allowed to buy lands owned by the Jewish National Fund. Some have accused Mazuz of incompliance with Israel's image as a Jewish state.

Mazuz has come under criticism from human rights groups for allowing Israeli police to employ violence against demonstrators in the evacuation of Amona.

On November 10, 2011, Mazuz was sworn in as a justice on Israel's Supreme Court.

A resident of Jerusalem, he is married with two children.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Menahem Mazuz - Attorney General". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. January 26, 2004. Retrieved 2007-01-28.