State Comptroller Joseph Shapira 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
With the shadow of prosecutions of former prime minister Ehud Olmert, Yisrael
Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman and around a dozen mayors hovering
overhead, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira and Head State Prosecutor Moshe Lador
on Monday held an unusual public bout over how the state prosecutes public
The disagreement broke out at a Tel Aviv Bar Association
conference over the question of whether the prosecution should try to prevent
local public officials under indictment for corruption from running for
Shapira answered unambiguously that “the public should be the
one who judges them.”
Lador hit back saying that “that is just slogans,
the public has a very limited ability to express its criticism of the conduct of
The head state prosecutor said that those who say that
“the public will judge with its ballots, and that the public through its ballot
knows how to punish” are being misleading and that “the public can only present
a solution on the margins of the margins when it comes to public
Lador added that though the prosecution had been criticized
because of prosecutions leading into the elections, artificially slowing down
these processes would also be an inappropriate interference in the electoral
process by essentially going too easy on officials (though he did say that the
prosecution thought twice about filing a brand new indictment right before an
election.) He noted that Att.-Gen.
Yehuda Weinstein had explicitly
ordered that political considerations, such as the timing of elections, be
ignored by the prosecution, saying all that should matter is the gravity of the
evidence in a case.
Shapira also discussed what he viewed as the most
serious aspects of the current public corruption phenomenon.
opinion the problem had less to do with contributors getting kickbacks and fancy
positions, and more with clever officials finding ways to tamper with the public
official selection process in order to ensure that family and friends got the
Further, Shapira warned candidates competing in the upcoming
October municipal elections that he would have representatives canvassing
virtually the entire country’s polling stations to ensure a lack of
Supreme Court President Asher D. Grunis complained that the
media has unleashed an unprecedented and personal assault on judges.
an example was a case in which three judges, recently cleared of any wrongdoing,
were accused in the media of telling a woman to reenact in court how she was
raped – according to Grunis solely on the testimony of a lawyer who had not been
present at the hearing.
The conference also held a debate on whether
Israel should adopt France’s law regarding certain public officials in which the
president, for example, cannot generally be prosecuted until he finishes his
Environmental Affairs Minister Amir Peretz said that Israel could
not implement this because whereas France has term limits, Israeli prime
ministers have no term limits on their reign.
Justice Minister Tzipi
Livni, Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino and many other top officials also