A number of mayors and former mayors are well acquainted with police interrogation rooms, having been the subject of prolonged investigations into a range of suspected offenses. Some mayors have claimed that political rivals are using the police to persecute them.
The Israel Police National Fraud Unit has led a good portion of the recent investigations. In Tel Aviv, former Deputy Mayor Natan Wallach was convicted by the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on Tuesday on three counts of violation of public office and giving false information to authorities. Wallach had concluded a plea bargain with state prosecutors, after admitting to illegally obtaining a visa for young Moldovan woman as a favor to the late businessman Reuven Gross.
In Rehovot, Former mayor Shuki Forer was indicted on charges that he allowed a contractor to pay him NIS 80,000 to cover a personal debt he built up during an elections campaign. In exchange, the contractor was permitted to undertake projects on behalf of the municipality worth millions of shekels, without being awarded a tender.
A High Court disqualified Forer from serving as mayor after being reelected in 2009, prompting a further round of local elections in November. Forer has confessed to the charge of violating public office as part of a plea bargain with state prosecutors.
In Sderot, former mayor Eli Moyal is suspected by police of election bribery offenses. "The suspicions center on the giving of jobs to associates, illegal payments to workers, preferential treatment given to contractors with large sums for the building of rocket shelters, and fraudulent registration in corporate documents," police said in a statement. Police have recommended that he be indicted.
And in Ramat Hasharon, Tel Aviv state prosecutors recently closed a case against Mayor Yitzhak Rochberge, after police investigated his son's winning of a tender to purchase his father's former vehicle at a significant discount.
Rochberge was the target of a number of police investigations which have not amounted to any formal charges. In November 2008, officers raided Rochberge's home.