web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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
Dozens of children were traumatized but escaped injury Sunday morning when Arabs in eastern Jerusalem attacked their bus.
‘Benign Neglect’ May Be Setting Up Eastern Jerusalem Jews for Expulsion
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF lone soldier and  David Menachem Gordon (z"l).

Why has his death been treated by some as an invitation for an emotional “autopsy”?

Starck-091914

SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.

Kohn-091914

Strategy? For the longest time Obama couldn’t be bothered to have one against a sworn enemy.

Miller-091914

Seventeen visual skills are needed for success in school, sports, and everyday life.

We started The Jewish Press. Arnie was an integral part of the paper.

Fear alone is substantial; without fusing it to beauty, fear doesn’t reach its highest potential.

Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.

Arab leaders who want the US to stop Islamic State are afraid of being dubbed traitors and US agents

National Lawyers Guild:Sworn enemy of Israel & the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the ’70s

A little less than 10 percent of eligible Democratic voters came out on primary day, which translates into Mr. Cuomo having received the support of 6.2 percent of registered Democrats.

The reality, though, is that the Israeli “war crimes” scenario will likely be played out among highly partisan UN agencies, NGOs, and perhaps even the International Criminal Court.

Peace or the lack of it between Israel and the Palestinians matters not one whit when it comes to the long-term agenda of ISIS and other Islamists, nor does it affect any of the long-running inter-Arab conflicts and wars.

Rather than serving as a deterrent against terrorist attacks, Israel’s military strength and capabilities are instead looked at as an unfair advantage in the asymmetrical war in which it finds itself.

Sisi:”The religious nature of the Middle East creates challenges for the governing authorities.”

More Articles from Steven Plaut
brant

“Jewish Voices for Peace,” a Hamas lobby created by Jewish anti-Semites.

The same by any name

The real enemy of Israel is not Arab fascism but Jewish leftism.

Neo-Nazis claim that Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is in fact a Mossad agent named Elliot Shimon

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

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.

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: