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The Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday announced that Efi Nave, former head of the Israeli Bar Association, will be charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust, pending a pre-indictment hearing.

Esther Craif, a Magistrate’s Court judge, will be indicted for bribery as well as destroying evidence, pending a hearing on the matter.


Prosecutors suspect Neve advocated for the appointment of Craif as a judge while the two were romantically involved.

According to a list of charges sent to Nave and Craif’s lawyers, Craif in 2013 applied for a judicial position and reached out to Nave for his support as head of the bar association’s  Tel Aviv district which he served as at the time, and he used his ties on the Judicial Appointments Committee to promote her appointment.

“In the weeks after they met, the two maintained a telephone connection, exchanged numerous messages and even had an intimate meeting at Craif’s house,” the letter read.

Prosecutors said Craif stayed in touch with Nave until he was appointed the head of the bar association in 2015, when she “encouraged, nurtured and strengthened the intimate-flirtatious relationship with him.”

The two had another intimate encounter at her home, amid Craif’s judicial nomination process.

Prosecutors said that as their relationship developed, Craif asked Nave numerous times to advance her appointment.

They added that Nave acted on her wishes on multiple occasions without notifying anyone of their relationship, which constituted a “severe conflict of interest.”

Craif was appointed as a judge on the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court in 2016.

Craif’s lawyer said that she “absolutely denies committing any offenses. Her appointment as a judge was supported by eight of the nine members of the Judicial Appointments Committee.”

Nave’s lawyers said the investigation was “born in sin,” referring to journalists who obtained Nave’s cellphone and extracted messages regarding the scandal, promoting the inquiry.

“Mr. Nave’s cellphone was stolen and hacked, and the prosecution, in a dubious decision, granted immunity to the burglars, despite it being a serious and obvious offense. As a result, all evidence collected in this proceeding must be deemed inadmissible in court,” they said.

In February, Nave filed a complaint against IDF Radio and a number of its journalists, including Hadas Shtaif, who broke the story. Prosecutors decided not to indict the journalists.


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