Barak’s wife wants to be fined over illegal worker

Nili Priel tells High Court Justice that she wants to be treated "like others in similar situations."

November 15, 2010 03:21
2 minute read.
Ehud Barak's wife Nili Priel

Nili Priel. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s wife, Nili Priel, has told the High Court of Justice that the state attorney should not have closed the file against her after failing to find the migrant worker whom she illegally employed.

Instead, he should have allowed her to pay a fine and then closed the case, it was revealed Sunday.

Priel also wrote that her husband had nothing to do with the employment of the illegal migrant worker, known as “Virginia” and that he should not be investigated in the affair.

Priel’s statements were included in a brief to the High Court submitted by her lawyers, Jacob Borovsky and Shulamit Eshbol, on November 4, in response to a petition by the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel.

But Priel was not so much concerned with the petition – except for the allegations against her husband – as she was by a letter sent to her on October 21 by Weinstein’s senior aide, attorney Raz Nazri, during the short period when the investigation had been closed.

During that time, Priel had written to Weinstein, asking him to let her pay a fine – as she had offered to do when she first came to the authorities and told them about her illegal worker – and regard the case as closed.

Nazri wrote to her saying that the state prosecution could not do so because not only had she employed a migrant worker who was in Israel illegally, but the worker had originally been in possession of a permit to work as a helper for the elderly or disabled.

She worked as a housemaid for Priel and, by violating the terms of the permit, Priel had committed a criminal act rather than an administrative violation.

Borovsky and Ashbol argued that the attorney-general’s premise was incorrect.

The woman’s permit had expired two years earlier.

Therefore, she no longer came under the category of a care-giver. Indeed, she had no category at all. Thus, Priel could not be accused of employing her in the wrong position.

“Therefore,” the lawyers wrote, “the said violations are administrative according to the law, and [Priel] agrees that she be fined, like others have been fined in similar circumstances.”

In a letter to Weinstein in response to Nazri’s letter, the two lawyers added, “To the extent that we succeeded in finding similar situations, the overwhelming majority of them, if not all of them, were resolved with an administrative fine, not an indictment, even when those involved were ministers in office, senior media people, people in the legal system and regular citizens.

“In all the cases we found, fines were levied and no charges were pressed. Our client does not wish to be treated differently from the above. On the contrary, she asks that she be fined in the same way they were.”

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