Zeiler 298.88 AJ.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The slug fest of blame shifting that was predicted even before the second stage of the Zeiler Commission began continued Tuesday for a third day in a row, as MK Yitzhak Aharonovich (Yisrael Beiteinu) contradicted the testimony of current police commissioner Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi.
Aharonovich was the Southern District commander during the period when many of the key events discussed in the Zeiler Commission occurred. Following the first round of testimony earlier this year, Aharonovich received an official warning from the commission that he was suspected of ignoring rumors that a senior commander was being paid off by organized crime, and that he did not appropriately brief Karadi when the the current commissioner took over as Southern District commander.
Instead, Aharonovich said, he met with Karadi on multiple occasions, and passed on information about over 40 open cases, including about the problematic investigation into the Buhbout murder. Karadi has claimed that he had not been informed about the case, and that Aharonovich had only met with him once for an hour before Karadi took over the position.
"I am saying in the clearest possible manner that I informed Karadi about the Buhbout murder," Aharonovich told the commission. He also denied charges that the case had been mishandled under his watch, saying that "the case was solved within the district. The only question that remained was the price," Aharonovich said, referring to the fact that the would-be state's witness Tzahi Ben-Or reportedly insisted on an unreasonably short prison sentence in return for his testimony.
The first-term MK also described the stormy relationship between two officers who "came up" in the Southern District - Asst.-Cmdr. Yoram Levy and Asst.-Cmdr. Amir Gur. Since the beginning of testimony before the Zeiler Commission in December 2005, Levy and now his defense team have tried to argue that all claims of Levy's involvement with organized crime stemmed from professional jealously against Levy, mostly from Gur.
Aharonovich said that he did not, as his official warning from the commission suggested, ignore a cloud of rumors surrounding Levy, but that he first heard the allegations from Gur, towards the end of his term in office. Aharonovich said that the two had a history of conflict, dating back to when Levy served under Gur in the elite Central Investigative Unit. Aharonovich claimed that he had considered recommending Levy as next CIU head, but gave the position instead to Asst.-Cmdr. Benny Sagiv after he heard about the rumors.
Aharonovich testified and was cross-examined for over four hours, by his own headline-making attorney Dori Klagsbald as well as Karadi's attorney Eli Zohar and Boaz Ben Zur, the fiery defense attorney representing both Levy and Ch.-Insp. Ruby Gilboa.
Zohar pressed Aharonovich on the question of meetings held between his client and the witness, trying to poke holes in Aharonovich's version of events.