Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman responded on Wednesday to tough questioning
about the delay in interrogating a senior judge accused of beating his children
in the Knesset, saying “in the State of Israel there is equality before the law
and no person is immune from a criminal interrogation and being brought to
Likud Beytenu MK Orly Levy- Abecassis had raised the issue with
Neeman following reports and confirmation from Attorney- General Yehuda
Weinstein that Weinstein had held up interrogation of the judge despite police
Levy-Abecassis asked Neeman two questions. First: “Is a judge
who is suspected of grave actions immune before the law?” Then: “Would it not be
a good idea with offenses of this kind not to permit any discretion to push off
the interrogation [of the judge] and to take authority away from the attorney-
general in cases of family violence?”
Neeman rejected Levy- Abecassis’s second
question, stating that “in certain instances, the law requires approval of the
attorney-general, according to the decisions of the legislature. After weighing
the balance of the circumstances, the attorney-general decided to order the
interrogation of the judge under oath.”
He added, “The independence of
the judicial authorities is a foundation stone for the existence of a Jewish and
Despite his defense of judicial independence, Neeman
left open the idea of legislative reform, saying that after the investigation is
complete, it might be worth looking into separating the power of giving the
state executive legal advice from the power to decide whether to bring ministers
and senior government workers to trial.
Meanwhile, police chief
Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino on Wednesday said police had almost completed the
investigation of the senior judge, Israel Radio reported.
that the investigation had taken too long and should be sped up.
said the judge had cooperated fully with investigators, according to the
The head of the police investigations branch,
Asst.-Ch. Yoav Segalovich, issued a request for the judge’s interrogation
to the attorney-general’s office two years ago, but Weinstein only ordered the
interrogation when the story became public last week.
that he had delayed an interrogation as he was unsure if it was best for the
family and the children as a whole.
Still, Weinstein publicly conceded
that the extent of the delay, a few years, was a failure by his
Media reports indicated that one reason for the delay was that
the attorney handling the case was on extended maternity leave and no other
attorney was assigned to take it over.
The story became public partially
because new allegations had surfaced that following an initial round of beating
his children and committing to refrain from doing so in the future, the judge
had started to beat them again.
On Tuesday the judge was investigated by
Tel Aviv police, and released a few hours later, said the report.
point the police will meet with representatives of the State Attorney’s Office
to decide if any new evidence needs to be collected or if the case can be
submitted to Weinstein for a final decision as to whether to file an
Ben Hartman contributed to this report.