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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘AG’

Speaker Edelstein Calls on AG to Conclude Police ‘Blackmail List’ Investigation

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Wednesday demanded that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit conclude his examination of a secret Israel Police dossier which reportedly details evidence regarding alleged offenses committed by Knesset members.

In his letter to the Attorney General, Edelstein said, “On June 22, 2016 a meeting was held in my office with the Police Commissioner and the head of the Police Investigations and Intelligence Department regarding the police document that was prepared in 2014 and which summarizes criminal and intelligence information on Knesset members who served at the time. During the meeting I noted the sensitivity (of the matter) and the problematic situation that was created due to the fact that the existence of such a document had been leaked, because it allegedly casts a cloud over all Knesset members, and creates a feeling in the public as if dozens of Knesset members are suspected of criminal acts.”

“I also stressed the importance of publishing an official clarification as soon as possible, to the public and the Knesset members, regarding the list from 2014 and its relevancy, as much as it remains relevant today, so that on the one hand the public will be able to rest assured that Israel Police is doing its job faithfully and is investigating Knesset members when necessary, while on the other hand Knesset members will be certain that police are not holding information against them which could be revealed at some point down the line and hurt their work or chances of obtaining a certain position,” the letter reads.

“In response to my comments, the police commissioner said they were aware of the sensitivity (of the matter) and the harm caused to Knesset members and the Knesset by the reports, and that the list had been submitted for your examination so that an official clarification regarding this list could be released soon,” Speaker Edelstein told Mandelblit.

Edelstein stressed the urgency of concluding the examination and releasing the clarification “in order to minimize the damage caused by the continued reports about the list and by leaving them in the public and media environment without a clarification or official statement from the authorized elements.”

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh appeared before the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee on Wednesday and justified the document. “It was drafted so that it wouldn’t turn out later that there was something we should have reported to the State Prosecutor and Attorney General and for some reason it got stuck and did not surface [to be reviewed by] a person with authority.”

Israel’s Channel 10 News revealed last month the existence of a document nicknamed “The Yitzhaki Report” that was compiled under order of the head of the police investigations unit Maj. Gen. Meni (Menachem) Yitzhaki.

During the Knesset committee meeting, Yitzhaki told the Internal Affairs Committee that the document was written in order to comply with the attorney general`s guidelines.

Committee Chairman MK David Amsalem (Likud) said: “The head of Investigations and Intelligence Branch has power by virtue of his position. Power corrupts, and great power corrupts more. Therefore, he must act with caution.”

“I read that 80 percent of police officers use internal information for their own personal needs. It is obvious that there is information being used by people who do not have the authority to do so,” MK Amsalem added. “Something terrible is happening here. Is the information only on Knesset members? Perhaps there is information about the commissioner? Maybe there are summaries on major generals in the police force? Or on judges and journalists? I don’t think Yitzhaki acted maliciously, but there is always potential for wrongful use.”


High Court Sides with Rabbinate, Rejects AG Push for ‘Alternative’ Kosher Certificates

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday embraced the position of the Chief Rabbinate on the Law prohibiting kashrut fraud, that a business may not present itself in writing as kosher, with or without the use of the word Kosher, unless it receives a kashrut certification from the only legally authorized body — the chief rabbinate, Walla reported. The decision dealt a severe blow to alternative kashrut certification services which have been operating in several Israeli cities, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, as well as food service businesses that keep kosher but do not carry a certification.

The appeal to the Supreme Court came from the Reform movement’s Israel Religious Action Center, in the name of two Jerusalem restaurant owners, Shai Gini and Yonatan Vadi, who argued that the food they serve is kosher despite the fact that they do not carry a kashrut certification from their local rabbinate. According to the appellants, there’s no problem with their presenting their food as kosher because it is. They appealed to the high court after their local Rabbinate levied fines on them based on the common interpretation of the kashrut fraud law, namely that only Rabbinate-certified food is accepted as being kosher.

The former AG, Yehuda Weinstein, reinterpreted the law following the appeal, ruling that the state may no longer fine restaurant owners who present kosher certificates from private kashrut services, and must cancel the fines that have already been issued. The AG only required that the restaurants in question not claim that the alternative certifications for their businesses had been issued by the Rabbinate.

In a rare exception, the Supreme Court permitted the Chief Rabbinate to present its case separately from the AG, and eventually accepted its position in a two to one ruling that the Rabbinate is the only statewide accepted authority on kashrut. The two justices in the majority were Noam Sohlberg and Elyakim Rubinstein. Justice Uri Shoham sided with the AG.

The Justices decided to limit their ruling to the next two years, subject to a system-wide change the court is demanding of the Chief Rabbinate, to reexamine the relationship between the certifying kashrut supervisor and the business he is auditing, so that they do not depend financially on the business they are expected to monitor. Justice Rubinstein suggested that “should this not be resolved in a significant and serious way, the entire subject may be reopened.”

Both Chief Rabbis commended the court’s decision; Rabbi David Lau said that a decision to permit alternative certificates, some of which are fictitious, would have led to a serious misleading of the public; Rabbi Yizhak Yosef said that the Chief Rabbinate regularly goes out of its way to make the kaashrut maintenance easier and cheaper for food service businesses.

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) said it was “refreshing to see a conservative approach on the part of the Supreme Court,” and praised the majority justices on overcoming their tendency for activism. The MK said he yearns for a time of “more balance in the relationship between the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government.”


German Technology Giant Siemens AG to Pay $44 Million to Settle Israeli Corruption Case

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

German technology giant Siemens AG has agreed to pay Israel $44 Million to settle a charge that it bribed executives at the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to win a bid to supply turbines from 1999 to 2005, Israel’s Justice Ministry announced Monday. The company has also agreed to appoint an external inspector to supervise its business in Israel.

“We are pleased that the Israeli State Authorities chose to have an arrangement that does not include an indictment against Siemens AG recognizing…. that Siemens fully cooperated in the course of the investigation,” Siemens said in an e-mailed statement.

Siemens AG says it plans to continue its business in Israel on a major scale, including purchasing Israeli products and services and investing in Israeli companies.

Six IEC executives are facing charges in Tel Aviv court for bribery and money laundering. They are accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash bribes or, for the discriminating corrupt officials, transfers to their Swiss bank accounts.

Last October a former finance officer for Siemens in Argentina admitted to paying $100 million in bribes to government officials to secure a contract to produce national identity cards.

And prosecutors in Germany are investigating Siemens for allegedly charging $2.2 million for work that was never done at Berlin’s long-delayed new airport.


Israel’s Next Political Storm: Minister Shaked Wants to Split AG Role

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

(JNi.media) Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) has told the search committee that selects Israel’s next Attorney General that she wants them to conduct their head-hunting while keeping in mind that she plans for the job to be split.

Currently, Israel’s AG (the official title is actually “the government’s legal counselor”) has two main roles: he heads the prosecution, and is, in fact, above the State Prosecutor; and at the same time he provides his legal opinion to the government and to government-run organizations.

Shaked’s plan is consistent with her view that there is too much “consultant activism” in Israel’s executive branch. She believes that the fact that the attorney general has so much authority gives the office executive power it should not have. It also needlessly limits government’s ability to function, and, in effect, makes it harder for the AG to offer useful legal counsel in a timely fashion.

And, of course, the fact that the same person who offers ministers his legal advice would likely be the person who eventually prosecutes them for failing to adhere to his advice, is intimidating to elected officials.

Two of Shaked’s predecessors, Justice Ministers Yaakov Ne’eman and Daniel Friedman, have attempted to split the AG’s two main roles into two separate positions, but both were met with fierce resistance from AG Yehuda Weinstein and the entire Judiciary apparatus.

Minister Ne’eman said at the time that there isn’t “a single individual in Israel who can be entirely dedicated to criminal law enforcement, coordination with the police, the Money Laundering Authority and the Tax Authority, in order to achieve credible results.”

It is expected that Shaked will propose creating a new position of “General Prosecutor,” who would be in charge of law enforcement, while the AG could do what the job description of “Legal Consultant” originally called for: consult ministers on legal matters.

The Movement for Government Quality has called on Shaked not to split the role of the Attorney General, warning that such a move could lead to the destruction of the rule of law in Israel. The movement went on to suggest some supporters of the split are politicians seeking to free themselves from the yoke of the law.

Another popular movement, “Governability and Democracy,” supports the idea of ​​the split, saying that concentrating so much power in the hands of a civil servant, who bears no parliamentary or political responsibility, is inconsistent with democracy.


PA Summons Palestinian Columnist for Interrogation

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Columnist Jihad Harb was summoned on Wednesday for interrogation by the Head of Public Prosecutions, on a complaint filed against him by the Chief of Staff of the Palestinian presidency, on charges of libel and slander, and direct insults to the employees in the Office of the President, through an article he wrote about two months ago, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms reported.

Jihad Harb was questioned about the article that was published in a number of Palestinian news sites, and told him that he was accused of libel and slander according to the Jordanian Penal Code that is in force in the Palestinian territories. MADA center attorney Raed Abdel-Hamid and a team of lawyers, jurists, and a representative of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, accompanied Harb during the interrogation.

The Head of the prosecution realized during the investigation that Harb is employed by the Palestinian Legislative Council, which means that the Attorney General must first issue permission to detain him. A request has been submitted to the AG, and Harb will remain free until the prosecution is officially permitted to pick him up for questioning again.

While Jihad Harb was interrogated inside, several journalists, human rights activists and representatives of civil institutions protested in solidarity with him in front of the Public Prosecution Office in Ramallah.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Assembly Candidate Tischler Calls on AG to Move on DOH Circumcision, Criticizes Hikind

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

State Assembly candidate Moshe Tischler is calling on New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to explore all legal options against Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt to regulate the millennia – old religious practice of bris milah.

Over the last couple of weeks, hundreds of rabbis have signed a Kol Koreh (religious proclamation) that condemned the Department of Health’s effort to set conditions on Jewish religious practices by spreading misinformation.

The New York City Department of Health is expected to issue an order this week with regards to the religious ritual of metzitza b’peh which may require written parental consent.

“For the government to infringe on our religious practices is absolutely unacceptable,” said Tischler, “this is an attack on our religious liberties. The Bloomberg administration’s impending order needs to be stopped immediately. The Attorney General should take a close look at the legal options the state has to stop such regulations.”

Mr. Tischler also added, “It was unfortunate that Dov Hikind supported Brad Lander for City Council in 2009, who openly criticized bris milah and called it “ritual violence.” The NYC Council has direct jurisdiction over the Department of Health and Bloomberg now has another rubber stamp for his policy on bris milah.

“Unfortunately, having a proponent of this policy on the City Council is to the Orthodox community’s detriment. It’s incredibly ironic that my opponent is railing against this policy considering his past support for a candidate who’s view on this issue was criticized by Jewish leaders and The Jewish Press and Mr. Hikind chose to disregard their concern nevertheless and to continue to support Mr. Lander.

“Our community needs leaders who understand that we can never afford to send a signal that such views are acceptable in the name of a political accommodation. We need leaders who won’t compromise our values for a backroom deal. We need leaders who are pro-active; not reactive.”

Jewish Press Staff

Likud MKs, Central Committee, Ulpana Hill Residents, in Pushback Against Court, AG, Barak

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Aryeh Laskar, a middle aged Jewish man with a salt-and-pepper, long beard, white shirt and black slacks, tells me he has lived in Ulpana Hill for ten years with his wife and their seven children. We spoke right before the start of a very large meeting of Likud’s Central Committee, assembled outside the 14 buildings of Ulpana Hill in Bet El, to show solidarity with the local residents.

Ulpana Hill resident Aryeh Laskar says his situation will be dire if an evacuation takes place.

Ulpana Hill resident Aryeh Laskar says his situation will be dire if an evacuation takes place.

“The town bought this land, it was legally purchased, we have all the documents,” he says, “and now some other Arab showed up, proving this land belongs to him. There appears to have been a dispute inside their family over who actually owned the land. And they got help from Peace Now, to come forward and say the land is theirs, so our homes would be evacuated and demolished.”

But this is not a simple case of Buyer Beware, where a home owner is penalized for his failure to perform due diligence. The state is involved, as well. The state created the infrastructure for the neighborhood and backed the mortgages.

The most recent apartment sale in the neighborhood, ground floor, 4 rooms and a yard, according to Laskar, went for NIS 800 thousand ($ 212,500). The High Court has decreed that 14 apartment buildings with roughly 50 apartments must be destroyed. At current market rates, then, the cost to the state in defaulted mortgages alone, never mind the cost of relocating about 250 people (more than 140 children live in the buildings), would come to $10 million.

Both Aryeh and his wife are teachers, both employed in local towns. Losing their home here would also mean two new unemployed Israelis and a new welfare case.

The fact that Israel’s Supreme Court and the Attorney General are prepared to endure these social and financial costs might suggest a kind of zeal one normally attributes to religious fanatics. Rather than pursuing a pragmatic, financial compensation to the claimant, as is normal in similar civil cases, both the high court and the AG appear hell bent on getting Justice.

Barbara Dorevitch (r.) and her daughter Judy Simon cannot imagine an evacuation happening.

Barbara Dorevitch (r.) and her daughter Judy Simon cannot imagine an evacuation taking place.

I asked Ulpana residents Barbara Dorevitch and her daughter Judy Simon, who has six children of her own, what their options were should the bulldozers start arriving, come May 15.

“It can’t happen,” said Judy, emphatically. “If, God forbid, these buildings were to be destroyed, it would encourage other Arabs to come up and claim that land that was sold by other Arabs was actually theirs. They just did that for six families in Hebron.”

As usual, everything that’s wrong with Israel’s political/judiciary system comes to light in the most acute way in Judea and Samaria, as became apparent from the speeches and the occasional heckles at Sunday night’s Likud party assembly of solidarity with the residents of Ulpana Hill in Bet El, in the Benjamin region.

Among the assembled in Bet El were a few individuals who came adorned with orange-colored articles of clothing, reminders of Gush Katif. And there was the quiet old man who was tirelessly displaying his orange poster “We shall not forget – We shall not forgive,” with photographs of synagogues that were incinerated upon what was once euphemized as the “disengagement,” and nowadays has been dubbed the “expulsion.”

Although memorabilia of the 2005 shameful destruction of Gush Katif by a Jewish and quite right wing government were kept to a minimum, there might as well have been a giant banner of those burning synagogues, homes, grass lawns, orchards and hothouses, dangling from the pale, blue sky above the proceedings. Because at stake, and on the minds of all the political dignitaries who came to show their support, were not only the possibility of the destruction of a few apartment buildings, but the encroaching new phase in anti-settlement tactics: the creeping erosion, as Deputy Knesset Chairman, MK Danny Danon coined it, of the entire settlement endeavor.

MK Jacob Katz (Ketzale), a resident of Bet El, expressed gratitude to the assembled Likudniks, wishing to share in their coalition government come next elections.

MK Jacob Katz (Ketzale), a resident of Bet El, expressed gratitude to the assembled Likudniks, wishing to share in their coalition government come next elections.

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/likud-mks-central-committee-ulpana-hill-residents-in-pushback-against-court-ag-barak/2012/04/23/

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