News was published last Thursday night that three judges were jailed in the latest corruption scandal, rocking the Israeli justice system. It is a first in Israel's 67 year history, where judicial corruption is rampant, but no judge has ever been prosecuted for corruption... A gag order was immediately imposed by the Jerusalem court. As is the case in the United States, Prior Restraint of the press is prohibited by Israeli law, unless a "clear and present danger" can be shown. However, in practice, the Israeli courts routinely issue gag orders, in what is largely seen as a coordinated effort by the justice system to cover-up its own corruption.
When law enforcement launched an investigation of Alon Hassan, the Ashdod harbor Longshoreman's Union boss, he warned that he would "bury" those, who try to prosecute him..._____
OccupyTLV, June 7 - in what is described a "dramatic development" in the most recent corruption scandal rocking the Israeli justice system, three current judges were apparently jailed last Thursday, as part of a ring that fixed court cases. [i] However, the news was almost immediately erased from news sites, and only cryptic headlines remain, following the imposition of a "publication prohibition decree" by the Jerusalem court. [ii]
As is the case in the United States, Prior Restraint of the press is prohibited by Israeli law, unless a "clear and present danger" can be shown. Regardless, the Israeli courts routinely issue gag orders, in what is largely seen as a coordinated effort by the justice system to cover-up its own corruption.
Such gag orders often also prohibit the publication of the fact that a gag order was entered... [iii] In the current incident, Hebrew news media published the fact that a gag order was rendered, but most English language media appear to have avoided mentioning that fact, apparently out of habitual, precautionary self-censorship...
The core of the most recent corruption scandal (the Ronel Fisher- Eran Malka - Ruth David affair) are claims of bribing by crime suspects of top Israel Police brass, brokered by top attorneys.
The scandal exploded in early May, when Ashdod Harbor Longshoreman's Union boss Alon Hassan, then under corruption investigation, documented the transfer of a suitcase full of cash to his Attorney, Ronel Fisher. Hassan claims that the cash was intended for bribing top police officers, and he apparently conducted some secret recordings to document his claims. The investigation quickly expanded. Former Israel Police officer Eran Malka, of the corruption/organized crime investigation unit (Lahav 433), entered a plea bargain agreement and apparently reported a series of other similar cases. Menashe Arbiv, commander of Lahav 433 ("the Israeli FBI") recently resigned after evidence emerged that he had been bribed by Rabbi Pinto in another landmark corruption scandal [iv].
Both Ronel Fisher and his law-firm partner Ruth David were jailed. Several of their employees also entered plea bargain agreements, several other top Israel Police brass were mentioned as suspects, and finally, last Thursday, judges were implicated as well. [v]
The scandal was immediately recognized as a new high mark in the corruption tide of recent years, since Ruth David is the former Tel-Aviv District Attorney, a key position in the Israeli justice system. Her arrest was an unprecedented event. She collapsed in court, in what media claimed was a faked fainting, intended to land her in a hospital bed instead of a jail cell.
The head of Israel Police National Fraud Investigations Unit Efraim Bracha was also mentioned as a suspect in this new scandal. He has previously featured as a central figure in the Rabbi Pinto scandal, where US Attorney General Loretta Lynch issued a letter supporting Rabbi Pinto's allegations that Bracha was bribing people. However, Bracha was cleared by the Israeli courts of any wrongdoing in the Rabbi Pinto scandal, in what is largely seen as another case of the justice system covering up its own corruption... Unconfirmed news last Thursday, prior to the imposition of the gag order, claimed that several other top Israel Police brass were suspects in the current scandal as well.
Beyond Longshoreman's Union boss Hassan, some of the suspect clients in the current scandal are large contractors and crime figures under income tax and other crime investigations, as well as city mayors under corruption investigations.
As was the case in previous scandals, it appears that efforts are already under way to minimize the charges or entirely clear two of the main figures: Efraim Bracha and Ruth David. These two individuals were the most senior justice system officers in a long list of corruption investigations over the past couple of decades, including internal investigations of the justice system itself. Obviously, their involvement in the current scandal must raise serious doubts regarding the integrity of all previous corruption investigations. As a paraphrase on the old adage, a recent Haaretz daily headline read: "Who will investigate the investigators' investigators?" [vi]
Labor party Chairman, Yitzhak Herzog, an attorney himself, commented last Friday that the current scandal is the "Day of Atonement" for the Israeli justice system.
However, Chief State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and others tried to contain the damage, claiming that there was no evidence of Ruth David's corruption during her tenure as Tel-Aviv District Attorney. Obviously, such claims are self-serving and lacking in credibility: The same people who are supposed to investigate Ruth David's conduct during her tenure as Tel-Aviv District Attorney, are the ones whose interest is to cover it up.
Particularly interesting in this context is a 2013 opinion piece by Attorney Ronel Fisher, "No to Shai Nitzan". In it, Fisher calls for the rejection of Shai Nitzan's nomination for Chief State Prosecutor. The reason: Nitzan's track-record in covering-up criminality by government officials... [vii]
Evidence of Ruth David's corruption during her tenure as Tel-Aviv District Attorney comes from various sources. One of the most notable - her cover up of the Tax Authority corruption scandal, was described by then former Attorney General Menahem Mazuz as the closest to organized crime in high government offices. [viii]