web analytics
July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Avigdor Liberman And The Politicized State Attorney’s Office

Ex Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman leaves his house at the settlement of Nokdim at the moment after he resigned from his duty.

Ex Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman leaves his house at the settlement of Nokdim at the moment after he resigned from his duty.
Photo Credit: Oren Nahshon / FLASH90

In 1999, Benjamin Netanyahu, in his first go-round as prime minister, lost his reelection bid to Ehud Barak, much to the delight of Israel’s conscripted media and of many in its judicial system.

At the time, a criminal investigation was launched against Netanyahu for supposedly misappropriating property from the prime minister’s residency. He had to leave it in a hurry in order to turn it over to his successor, and the claim was that he’d absconded with some trinkets and gifts that had been given to him as prime minister but belonged to the residency, not to him personally.

Nothing much came of the investigation other than it’s having served as an illustration of how the judicial left in Israel and the chronically politicized State Attorney’s Office habitually file politically-motivated indictments and open politically-motivated criminal investigations.

In Israel there is a long tradition of the left using prosecution to get its way, especially when voters refuse to endorse what the left wants. The investigation of Netanyahu was payback for Netanyahu’s having beaten the left in the previous election.

Which brings us to Avigdor Liberman, who last week stepped down as foreign minister. The left has always had a problem with Liberman, and it is not just a matter of political ideology. Liberman launched a political career from nothing and turned his party into the second strongest in Israel. He recently merged it with the Likud and the new superparty is expected to capture a third of Knesset seats.

Liberman, with his chunky demeanor and heavy Russian accent, basically took the Russian-Israeli vote away from the better known Natan Sharansky and is increasingly attracting non-Russian Israeli voters who like what he represents.

Liberman is blunt and has no qualms denouncing the treasonous proclivities of many Israeli Arabs. That makes the left hysterical, and there have been attempts to bar him from running on grounds that he is a “racist.”

Fifteen years ago, the State Attorney’s Office opened an investigation against Liberman, supposedly for corruption. It dragged its feet for over a decade. It regularly attempted to prevent Liberman and his party from succeeding by releasing statements a few weeks before every election suggesting that criminal charges were about to be filed against him. But none ever was.

The upcoming election and the current campaign season in Israel have been no different. For months, prosecutors leaked to media outlets that they had found horrific dirt about Liberman and were about to file criminal charges.

But just as the election season was heading for its climax, prosecutors last week made a startling announcement. Due to lack of evidence they were dropping 95 percent of the charges they had been investigating against Liberman, though they hinted that they still thought he was guilty of them, citing things like witnesses having died over the past decade and misplaced evidence.

Prosecutors did retain basically one single charge against Liberman, claiming he was guilty of corruption and accepting a bribe in what the media are calling the “Ambassador Affair.”

Bear in mind that Liberman was not convicted of any crime; prosecutors merely announced plans to indict him for one. At first Liberman dismissed the charges as silly, but then he announced he was resigning as foreign minister.

So just what was the single charge against Liberman – the only one the prosecution believes it can make stick? I doubt one Israeli in 100 can answer that question, and I found just one story in the Israeli press last weekend that answered the question.

So just what was Liberman’s horrid crime? The one prosecutors plan to move forward with to trial?

It turns out that a few years back prosecutors tried to solicit evidence against Liberman from the Belarus government, including information about a bank account supposedly under Liberman’s control in some Belarus bank. The Israeli ambassador to Belarus at the time, Ze’ev Ben Aryeh, learned about the formal request for information the Israeli prosecutor had sent to the Belarus government. Ben Aryeh tipped off Liberman and even gave him the number of the bank account in question.

I am not sure passing on the information to Liberman was a crime at all, but even if it were, it was a crime committed by Ben Aryeh, not Liberman. The end of the saga is that Liberman eventually was appointed foreign minister and Ben Aryeh was appointed  by committee (ostensibly without Liberman’s input, as protocol requires), to serve as ambassador to Latvia.

Belarus is a much larger country than Latvia, so it’s not at all clear the appointment served as some kind of promotion, but prosecutors suspect it was a reward for Ben Aryeh’s having helped Liberman with the information about the criminal investigation against him. Liberman says Ben Aryeh was appointed because he is competent, experienced, and speaks fluent Russian.

Lots of luck to the Israeli attorney general proving otherwise. And lots of luck to Israeli democracy surviving when the State Attorney’s Office functions as a partisan wing of the left.

About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Avigdor Liberman And The Politicized State Attorney’s Office”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Bibi: ‘Death From Above, Death From Below’ Will Not Continue
Latest Indepth Stories
Young children 'recruited' by the Al Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) terrorist group for a Shari'a jihadist army in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS poses a great threat to the entire civilized world in general and liberal democracies in particular.

kerry clown

Kerry is preoccupied with pressuring Israel, notwithstanding the transformation of the Arab Spring .

journalism

With no shortage of leftist media that seek to distort the news, what should our Torah response be?

Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett

Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

It is time for a total military siege on Gaza; Nothing should enter the Gaza Strip.

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

More Articles from Steven Plaut
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

One grey night it happened, Bibi caved no more
& Poof that Foggy Bottomer, he vanished from our sight

Ehud Olmert
Feb. 27, 2014

It’s six K, five K, four K, Graft !
(Daylight come and da jail’s his new home)

In 2012, an initiative was begun in the Knesset led by David Rotem (from the Yisrael Beitenu party), to cut the stipends and pensions paid to convicted murderers and terrorists by 50 percent.

When the Temple was in existence, Jews were religiously obligated to eat roast meat at least once a year.

I have frequently drawn up lists of what I love most about Israel, and Arik Einstein has ranked high.

In the past, the law school prohibited the singing of Hatikvah.

American non-Orthodox Jews are intermarrying their way into post-Jewish oblivion, and they’re doing so as a direct result of having emptied their version of Judaism of all meaning.

The Taliban is all too willing to obliterate anything attesting to ancient Jewish life and culture.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/avigdor-lieberman-and-the-politicized-state-attorneys-office/2012/12/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: