Abolishing Independence of Legal Counsels: Impairment of Gatekeepers

>> Read the full Position Paper

This position paper was written in response to reports that the coalition is set to advance a new version of the “Legal Counsels Law” introduced in the past, whereby the opinion of legal counsels of government ministries will not be binding, ministers will be free to choose different legal representation and to decide what position will be presented on their behalf, and the hiring process will be reviewed by the Knesset Constitution Committee.

Zulat’s position is that this is a destructive proposal, as it will eliminate the role of legal counsels as “gatekeepers,” will harm the rule of law and human/civil rights, and will increase corruption. Here are the reasons why:

  • It is a sequel to previous proposals by the Right to make legal counsels positions of trust to be filled at the ministers’ discretion and an extension of the “Reign of Clerks” campaign launched in 2015 in the wake of the suspicions and criminal charges against Netanyahu and the Likud’s efforts to entrench its position as the country’s ruling party.
  • It will hurt the status of the Attorney General as it will secure the “right” of ministers who wish to circumvent or defy her instructions to seek separate legal advice. Given that her instructions are supposed to be implemented by the legal counsels, this could potentially result in a serious violation of human/civil rights.
  • Government ministries will be able to draft bills without seeking the opinion of their legal counsels.
  • There is no justification for changing the hiring process of legal counsels and the proposal to have this process reviewed by the Knesset Constitution Committee is only intended to harm their status.

Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi


Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.


Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.


Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.



Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.