Zvi Bar 370.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The High Court of Justice issued a conditional order on Tuesday to fire Ramat
Gan Mayor Zvi Bar over his indictment for bribery and fraud.
demanded that Bar and the Ramat Gan City Council further explain within 21 days
why he should not resign or why the council would not fire him.
scheduled its final decision for no later than mid- July. With the order, the
court appears to be taking Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein’s recent opinion
that, legally, Bar must be removed from his post on the basis of the indictment
against him for bribery, fraud and other crimes while in office.
Weinstein made many points, the bottom line was that if an official committed a
crime in his or her public capacity and through use of his or her public powers,
it should serve as a multiplying factor to the severity of the crime.
Bar’s case, this meant Weinstein said he was obligated to resign after having
merely been indicted and not yet convicted, despite the principle of innocent
until proven guilty.
On January 31, the prosecution filed an indictment
against Bar for fraud, accepting bribes, money-laundering and other
Bar, who has been mayor of Ramat Gan for 24 years, denies the
charges. He has refused calls for his resignation in spite of the indictment,
and until the court’s involvement, he could only have been forced to resign by
law if he had been convicted of a crime carrying a finding of moral
However, the Ramat Gan City Council is also empowered to fire
the mayor in a variety of other circumstances, and the interior minister may be
able to as well.
After the council decided not to fire Bar about half a
year ago, Dr. Avi Lilian, one of the dissenting council members, filed the
current petition asking the High Court to intervene and fire Bar.
Weinstein’s opinion, the High Court, in earlier hearings on the petition, had
appeared unlikely to intervene, particularly with the October mayoral elections
in the city only a few months away.