J'lem mayorial campaign turns dirty

Private investigators hired by Barkat's campaign tailed former police chief Mickey Levy.

September 19, 2007 20:38
1 minute read.
J'lem mayorial campaign turns dirty

Mickey Levy 298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )

Two private investigators were arrested this week for allegedly trailing former Jerusalem police chief Mickey Levy and gathering personal information about him. The two PI's told investigators they were hired by Jerusalem opposition leader City Councilman Nir Barkat, police said Wednesday. Levy, who just completed a three year stint as Israel Police representative to the US, plans to run for Jerusalem mayor in 2008, in a likely face-off against incumbent Mayor Uri Lupolianski and Barkat. Barkat denied that he was involved in the incident, saying he learned about it from the press. "If things were done, they were done without my knowledge and opinion," he said in a statement. "Even if someone thinks that they did this for me, he did it without asking me and not at my behest and I am sorry about this," he said. The episode is seen as likely to gravely impact a future Barkat campaign. Levy told The Jerusalem Post he had filed a police complaint due to concern that criminal elements were involved in the incident, which took place over the last couple months in Washington. There were eight or nine instances in which the investigators asked questions about him, Levy said, including of his daughter and at his suburban DC synagogue. The former police chief said some of the questions dealt with his role in the extradition to the US of the top Israeli drug lord Zeev Rosenstein. Levy said he was told by police this week that criminal elements were not involved in the case. Police have already closed the case, since no criminal wrongdoing was found, and the private investigators have been released without being charged. Levy declined to discuss Barkat, saying he was still in the police until October 1. In contrast, an elated Mayor Lupolianski quickly issued a statement blasting the opposition leader. "Even if Nir Barkat lost in the [last mayoral] election and his situation in the polls is gloomy, he must know how to abide by the law and [the rules of] humanity, which is the basis for a healthy society, and by the democratic rules of the game," Lupolianski said. Barkat said he looked forward to cooperating with Levy. The case came to light as Barkat was planning to announce his departure from the Kadima Party due to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's willingness to divide Jerusalem. Barkat, a self-made millionaire, ran in the last mayoral race in June 2003 as an independent but subsequently joined Kadima.

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