JERUSALEM (JTA) — A renowned Tel Aviv defense lawyer whose clients have included Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Olmert was appointed Israel’s next attorney general.
Yehuda Weinstein, 65, was tapped unanimously Sunday by the Cabinet and will assume his six-year post on Feb. 1.
He succeeds Menachem Mazuz, who received praise from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"You did exemplary work in very difficult conditions," Netanyahu told Mazuz Sunday at the weekly Cabinet meeting. "You acted with great wisdom — of both mind and heart. You are worthy of esteem for your actions."
Weinstein opened a private practice in 1979 after serving as a senior deputy prosecutor for the Tel Aviv District.
Considered an expert in white-collar crime, Weinstein has defended such high-profile clients as Netanyahu and his predecessor as prime minister, Olmert, as well as ex-President Ezer Weizmann and former Shas Party chairman Aryeh Deri.
Mazuz is set to make a decision in coming weeks on whether to indict Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on charges of fraud and graft. If the final decision falls to Weinstein, he could recuse himself since he has a connection to the case.
Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman had picked Weinstein from among four candidates named last month by a special five-member search committee after the panel could not arrive at a decision. Weinstein was the only candidate to receive votes from the committee’s left and right.