Political corruption is not a novelty in Israel, and even someone considered worthy of the post of Governor of the Bank of Israel was not immune to the temptations of easy money.
Asher Yadlin, a senior member of the Labor Party in the 1970s, had already been nominated for the position when Shlomo Hillel, who was then Minister for Police and Aharon Barak who was then Attorney General, were informed that following a secret police investigation, there was reason to believe that Yadlin was heavily engaged in illegal financial practices.
The investigation had been triggered by the now defunct weekly magazine HaOlam Hazeh, which was edited by Uri Avneri, and which specialized in exposing scandals of marital, political, military and business infidelity.
Yadlin had been among the public figures targeted by HaOlam Hazeh, thereby arousing police suspicions. The investigation showed that Yadlin as CEO of Hevrat Ovdim the umbrella of the Histadrut’s economic enterprises, and head of the Histadrut Health Fund (Kupat Holim) had accepted bribes as well as secret commissions for transactions related to Kupat Holim.
The upshot was that instead of spending four or five years as Governor of the Bank of Israel, he was sentenced in 1977 to five years in prison for bribery, fraud and tax evasion plus a fine of 250,000 lira. (Israeli pounds). In actual fact, he served three-and-a-half years.
Unlike some of the political figures who were sentenced in later years to prison terms on charges of corruption, Yadlin stayed out of the limelight after paying his debt to society.
Yadlin died over the past weekend. He was 93 and willed his body to science.