State rejects call to investigate Barak

Right-wing organization petitioned High Court over defense minister's illegal hiring of a foreign domestic worker.

November 4, 2010 17:02
1 minute read.
Barak fancy

Barak fancy. (photo credit: Ariel Hermoni / Defense Ministry)

The state asked the High Court of Justice on Thursday to reject a request by the right-wing Legal Forum for the Land of Israel to investigate Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s role in the illegal hiring of a foreign worker as a domestic in his home.

The request was included in a petition the Forum recently filed, which also demanded that Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein reopen the investigation of the affair. Weinstein had announced that he was closing the file against Barak’s wife, Nili Priel, because the foreign worker could not be found and there was therefore insufficient evidence to prosecute her.

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In its response, the state informed the court that the investigation had already been reopened after Population, Immigration and Border Crossings Authority investigators had located the woman, known as “Virginia,” and had questioned her about her work in the Barak home.

Although Weinstein has already made it clear that Priel cannot be let off with a fine, he has not yet announced that he intends to indict her.

Even if he does so, it will not be enough for the Forum and its lawyer, Moshe Pollack, who wants Weinstein to investigate Barak as well. He asked the court to issue a show-cause order to “summon [Barak] to an investigation regarding the employment of the foreign worker, after the attorney-general said he had not been summoned and regarding whom he had decided not to summon at all.”

The state’s representatives, attorneys Sharon Rotshenker and Reuven Idelman, wrote that with regard to Pollack’s charge that Barak was “a partner to the crime,” “no evidence of his involvement in the employment of the foreign worker was found (as opposed to the question of whether he knew she was employed in his home), [and] there was no reason to summon him.”

The state’s lawyers added that the authorities were acting in this case as they would in similar cases. Furthermore, they said, the court should not intervene in a situation where the state has broad latitude to decide on such matters.

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