The Holyland Tower in Jerusalem 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The daughter of the state’s main witness in the Holyland trial, who died on
Friday, eulogized her father and attacked the defendants, their attorneys and
the press at his funeral on Sunday.
“Everyone was busy with destroying
your good name,” she said. “They spilled your blood and shortened your life.
Everyone forgot you and ran away from you because you had no more to
Because they could not extort you anymore.”
“S.D.”, as the
main witness in the trial against former prime minister Ehud Olmert and 15 other
defendants is referred to under a gag order – which is still in effect – died in
his mid-70s on Friday after multiple hospitalizations and an extended history of
The exact cause of death has not been announced, and has
been the subject of much speculation, though foul play or suicide is not
The Holyland trial, which has been called one of the greatest
corruption scandals in the country’s history, involves allegations that Olmert
and numerous other public officials were bribed to smooth over legal and zoning
obstacles for building the Holyland project in Jerusalem.
The past week
of the trial, until only hours before S.D.
died, included a number of
harsh and emotional exchanges between S.D. and Olmert’s lawyers, who repeatedly
called him a liar, raising his ire.
His daughter’s eulogy seemed to
suggest she at least partially blamed his death on his treatment in court and
the stress it caused him.
“You only gave, but this has become a land that
swallows its inhabitants,” she said at the funeral. “Father, we love you. We are
proud of you. People are bad. Many of them are heartless. In place of
investigating truthfully, they were busy with falsehoods.”
related the story of how her father had asked for the family’s support before
choosing to turn state’s witness.
“You came to us a few years ago and you said you wanted
to be a state’s witness,” she recounted. “You said, this will be my modest
contribution, to tell how things happened. You asked for our consent. I am so
sorry that I agreed. Forgive me that we allowed you to do this.”
funeral was attended by around 100 people, including Liat Ben-Ari, head of the
state’s economic crimes unit and lead attorney in the case. The rest of the
state’s legal team for the case and his former attorney in other cases, Amnon
Yitzhaki, also attended.
Another notable attendee was Meir Rabin, a
former close aide to S.D. and later a defendant in the case.
daughter also had advice for the state and for Judge David Rozen, who has
presided over the trial. She called on the state to continue with the case
despite calls from some sectors to give it up.
“Don’t let [the defendants
and their attorneys] confuse you,” she said to Rozen.
The state notified
the Holyland defendants that Rozen said the case will continue on Monday with
the state’s next witnesses, leaving the defense attorneys with less time to
prepare their cross-examinations.
Several contrary messages came from the
state throughout Sunday about which witnesses would be called next.
first, there was a notice that the case would change its focus from Olmert to
charges against Dan Dankner, former chairman of Bank Hapoalim and Israel Salt
Industries, and Yaakov Efrati, former Israel Lands Authority head, for alleged
But later Sunday, the state said it would ask the judge for an
unspecified adjournment so that it could properly prepare a whole new round of
witnesses, despite having expected to continue with S.D. for another two
The state reemphasized that it has no intention of declaring a
mistrial and will push on with the case despite any temporary delays. •