(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Movement for Quality Government slammed Sunday what it described as “public
lobbying” by prominent figures in favor of MK Tzahi Hanegbi
Army Radio reported on Sunday that a long line of politicians,
diplomats, former IDF officers and others, including Knesset Speaker Reuven
Rivlin (Likud), Kadima Faction Chairwoman MK Dalia Itzik, former president
Yitzhak Navon and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel had submitted letters to the
Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court via Hanegbi’s defense attorney, asking the court to
find that Hanegbi’s crimes had not involved “moral turpitude.”
to the law, if the court finds an MK guilty of a charge and explicitly
determines that the crime involved moral turpitude, he or she will be barred
from serving in the Knesset for seven years.
The hearings on the subject
are slated to begin Monday as part of the sentencing hearings for Hanegbi, who
was found guilty of false testimony in a state comptroller’s probe.
NGO launched an alternate petition Sunday signed by members of the general
public calling on the court to rule that Hanegbi’s perjury regarding his
controversial political appointments indeed involved moral turpitude.
Movement for Quality government said that the lobbying on Hanegbi’s behalf was
“inappropriate, degrading and embarrassing.”
“The movement was shocked by
the approaches to the Magistrate’s Court made by those who asked that Hanegbi
not be found to have acted with criminal intent – it should have been obvious
that such inappropriate and questionable approaches should not have been made,”
said the organization, in a statement published Sunday.
cleared of a number of the original charges listed in his indictment, but was
found guilty of delivering false testimony in the case, which concerned over 100
political appointments made while he served as a environment minister for the
While clean-government advocates said that such appointments
cannot be condoned, there has been no legal precedent for convicting current or
former ministers of corruption for appointing party supporters to government
Hanegbi’s political future has been unclear for eight years,
as the legal process played itself out. For the past four years, while on trial,
he could not accept any cabinet positions.
The court’s ruling in his case
left his political future still uncertain. Had he been found guilty of the two
additional charges in the indictment – fraud and breach of trust – his fate
would have been clearer.
In its online petition calling for Hanegbi to be
found to have acted with moral turpitude, the Movement for Quality Government
called on “public figures and members of the general public to join the public
call that anyone who morally failed in their public duties should not be allowed
to return once again to the political arena and to repeatedly damage the
public’s faith in its leaders.”
The petition enjoyed limited success,
garnering fewer than 100 signatures in its first day.
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