barak kill 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein left open the possibility of reopening the
investigation into allegations that Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s wife, Nili
Priel, employed a housekeeper who did not have a permit to live in Israel, after
an Israel Radio reporter located and interviewed the woman on
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Last week, Weinstein announced that the state prosecution had
closed the case because it had failed to find the housekeeper. However, on
Sunday morning, military correspondent Carmela Menashe interviewed the woman,
whose name is Virginia.
The interview triggered harsh criticism from
various quarters, including Kadima MK Shlomo Molla and watchdog organizations
Ometz and the Movement for Quality Government. It also prompted a petition by
the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, demanding that Weinstein reopen the
A few hours later, High Court Justice Yoram Danziger gave
the state two-and-a-half weeks to reply to the petition.
In a response to
a letter from Molla, Weinstein’s senior aide, Raz Nazri, wrote, “During the
months in which the investigation was conducted, Alex Kogan, who is in charge of
prosecutions in the Population, Migration and Border Crossings Authority, spoke
several times to Menashe following a previous report by her on this matter. He
hoped to obtain her help in locating the employee. Kogan told us, both before
the meeting in which the decision to close the file was taken and in another
check this morning, that even though Menashe said she was ready to help, she
explained at some stage that she could not do so because of a promise she had
made to the employee not to reveal her.
“In their last conversation,
Menashe told Kogan that she had cut off her ties with the employee and had no
information on the matter. I can state that to the extent that we now receive
new, relevant information on this matter, it will be examined and assessed as is
Weinstein was stung by allegations in Molla’s letter that he
had given Barak special, lenient treatment.
“The judicial system
deliberately went easy on the defense minister... and treats people
differently,” Molla charged.
Nazri replied that as long as the state
could not locate the employee, it could not indict Priel or Barak because it
would have lacked sufficient evidence to gain a conviction.
Moshe Pollak, who is representing the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, wrote
in his petition that in many cases the state prosecuted employers even when the
migrant worker was not available to testify.
“Indictments are routinely
filed or administrative fines levied even when testimony cannot be taken from
the migrant worker or on the basis of the testimony or confession of the
suspect,” he wrote.