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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
If you'll notice, defense attorney Dan Scheinemann has succeeded in sidetracking public opinion regarding the trial of his client, Haim Ramon, from the real issue of whether Ramon inappropriately kissed a 20-year-old girl against her will.
Scheinemann has managed to introduce a conspiracy theory into the proceedings, and conspiracy is something that seems to capture the salacious imagination of the Israeli public.
According to Scheinemann, everyone - the plaintiff, [referred to by her Hebrew initial] "Heh"; the head of the investigation team, Dep.-Cmdr. Miri Golan; the head of the police intelligence and investigation unit, Cmdr. Yohanan Danino; Tel Aviv District Attorney (Criminal) Ruth David; and even the prime minister's military adjutant, Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni - was out to get Ramon for some nefarious reason, probably political.
Were they working in collusion to bring Ramon down? Or did each have his or her own personal agenda which - in some miraculous way that refutes the laws of probability - happened to come together by pure chance on July 12, the day of the kissing incident? Perhaps it was not by pure chance; maybe Ramon himself was in on the conspiracy to take himself down.
CONSIDER THE possible alternative to all of the above - one that is more reflective of the complexities of human nature.
Let's take Golan, for example. It is her job to expose criminals, and she has been doing so for many years. That kind of work, like most people's, tends to inform one's overall view of life. But, unlike most people, police investigators must become especially hardened, as they come into frequent contact with unsavory characters. Some of these unsavory characters are sex offenders. It's Golan's job to investigate them and uncover the truth. Because of this, she undoubtedly has come to view many cases in black-and-white terms.
When "Heh" gave Golan her account of what Ramon allegedly did, Golan believed the story, and was intent on bringing the minister of justice to... justice. Yes, Ramon in particular - not for political reasons, but because of his public stature and status.
It is unacceptable for any person to commit an indecent sexual act. It is even more unacceptable for an elected official and cabinet minister who has appealed for and won the trust of the people. And, yes, Golan most likely genuinely believed that a man who acted as Ramon allegedly did with "Heh" should not be appointing the president of the Supreme Court.
What about Ruth David and the missing tapes of wire-tapped conversations? Did she store them away in a separate investigation file - which she promptly closed - in order to conceal them from Scheinemann?
We have Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz's detailed account of how the screw-up took place. Do we take his word for the fact that it was an innocent bungle? Or was Mazuz himself, perhaps, also in on the conspiracy?
What about Shamni? Did he take time off from his heavy work schedule to browbeat "Heh" into complaining to the police at the last minute, hours before she left Israel for Costa Rica, because he wanted to get rid of the right-hand man (i.e. Ramon) of his boss, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert?
According to Shamni's testimony in court, he tried to persuade "Heh" that the right thing to do was to complain to the police; that conduct on the part of the justice minister, as described by her, should not be allowed to go unchallenged; that it would be immoral for her not to complain.
With so many known instances of sexual harassment by senior IDF officers against female soldiers, it might be surprising that a high-ranking officer would take such an outspoken moral position. But have we become so cynical as to think that Shamni is too good to be true? That he could not possibly have been as outraged as he claimed to have been - and under oath, at that?
None of this is to say that Ramon actually did what "Heh" claims he did. The response of almost everyone who took a hard line against Ramon - Golan, Danino and Shamni - was based on the fact that they took "Heh"'s word at face value.
Was she telling the truth? Did Ramon really do what she said he did?
This is precisely what the court is trying to find out. Even if the court were to decide that she was lying or exaggerating, it would by no means prove that those who persuaded her to complain were out to get Ramon. All it proves is that they believed her, and wanted to do what they thought was the right thing.
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