Grapevine: Cracking down on corruption

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June 13, 2013 12:55

There seems to be a sudden police crackdown on corruption, with mayors and former mayors on trial or under investigation.

4 minute read.



Mayor of Hadera, Haim Avitan

Mayor of Hadera370. (photo credit:The Municipality of Hadera )

With local elections on the horizon, there seems to be a sudden police crackdown on corruption, with mayors and former mayors on trial or under investigation. The short list published this week by Yediot Aharonot is only the tip of the iceberg.Israel Radio's police reporter Adi Meiri has been reporting on corruption in city halls for quite some time, and because of her excellent connections with the police, was able to hint well in advance at the arrest this week of Hadera Mayor Haim Avitan. Other mayors who have been investigated by police, and in some cases charged with various crimes and even brought to trial, include Kiryat Malachi Mayor Moti Malcha, for sexual misconduct and building violations; Bat Yam Mayor Shlomi Lahiani, for accepting bribes; Elad Mayor Yitzhak Idan, for accepting bribes from real estate developers; Tiberias Mayor Zohar Oved, for including false information in official documents; Ramat Gan Mayor Zvi Bar, for accepting millions of shekels in bribes; Gan Yavne Mayor Dror Aharon, for theft and fraud; Ramat Hasharon Mayor Yitzhak Rochberger, for fraud; and Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapso, for accepting bribes in return for a market operating license.

Gapso has also been criticized in several media outlets for his racist attitude towards Arabs, and his refusal to permit the establishment of an Arab school in an area where there is a large Arab population. Also, let's not forget former Jerusalem mayors Uri Lupolianski and Ehud Olmert, who are still on trial for the Holyland affair. With only four months to go before municipal elections, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell how many present incumbents will be allowed to run for another term. Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein has already declared that Ramat Gan’s long-serving mayor Bar is not fit for office. And of course, there’s no telling which of the mayors who are members of the Union for Local Authorities are going to be charged with some form of corruption between now and October.

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