Baz Ratner / Courtesy Reuters A poster in Jerusalem depicts former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Jerusalem of Gold

Does Israel Have a Corruption Problem?

Last month, Israel's attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, announced that he was closing a 12-year investigation into Avigdor Lieberman, who until mid-December was the country's foreign minister. The investigation focused on the suspicion that the minister had used foreign corporations with fictitious owners to hide private funds that he had received while in office. "If brought to court," Weinstein explained, "the case would likely end in an acquittal." The attorney general did, however, decide to indict Lieberman for a relatively minor offence -- breaching the public trust.

The effect that the indictment will have on Lieberman's political career is still uncertain. If he were found guilty, the court would still have to make a special declaration that he acted immorally in order to force him to take a hiatus from political life. And for now, even though Lieberman resigned from his post as foreign minister, election polls still suggest that his right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, which merged forces with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud and formed the Likud-Beiteinu list, will share the leadership of the next coalition government. Assuming he receives a mild verdict, Lieberman will yet again be a senior minister in the Israeli government.

Off the record, officials in the Ministry of Justice admit that the watered-down outcome of the Lieberman investigation is an alarming sign that law enforcement may be losing ground in the battle against corrupt politicians. "There are three types of Knesset members," Mali Polishuk-Bloch, a retired Knesset member with a record of anticorruption activities, remarked

Log in or register for free to continue reading.

Registered users get access to one free article every month.

Browse Related Articles on {{}}

{{ | number}} Articles Found

  • {{bucket.key_as_string}}