Mayor of Hadera370.
(photo credit: The Municipality of Hadera )
With local elections on the horizon, there seems to be a sudden police crackdown
on corruption, with mayors and former mayors on trial or under investigation.
The short list published this week by Yediot Aharonot is only the tip of the
iceberg.Israel Radio's police reporter Adi Meiri has been reporting on
corruption in city halls for quite some time, and because of her excellent
connections with the police, was able to hint well in advance at the arrest this
week of Hadera Mayor Haim Avitan. Other mayors who have been investigated by
police, and in some cases charged with various crimes and even brought to trial,
include Kiryat Malachi Mayor Moti Malcha, for sexual misconduct and building
violations; Bat Yam Mayor Shlomi Lahiani, for accepting bribes; Elad Mayor
Yitzhak Idan, for accepting bribes from real estate developers; Tiberias Mayor
Zohar Oved, for including false information in official documents; Ramat Gan
Mayor Zvi Bar, for accepting millions of shekels in bribes; Gan Yavne Mayor Dror
Aharon, for theft and fraud; Ramat Hasharon Mayor Yitzhak Rochberger, for fraud;
and Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapso, for accepting bribes in return for a
market operating license.Gapso has also been criticized in several media
outlets for his racist attitude towards Arabs, and his refusal to permit the
establishment of an Arab school in an area where there is a large Arab
population. Also, let's not forget former Jerusalem mayors Uri Lupolianski and
Ehud Olmert, who are still on trial for the Holyland affair. With only four
months to go before municipal elections, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to
tell how many present incumbents will be allowed to run for another term.
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein has already declared that Ramat Gan’s
long-serving mayor Bar is not fit for office. And of course, there’s no telling
which of the mayors who are members of the Union for Local Authorities are going
to be charged with some form of corruption between now and October.