S.D.'s daughter at funeral: They drank your blood

Daughter of state's main witness in Holyland trial lashes out at defendants, defense attorneys.

By
March 3, 2013 14:03
3 minute read.
The Holyland Tower in Jerusalem

The Holyland Tower in Jerusalem 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

 
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The daughter of the state’s main witness in the Holyland trial, who died on Friday, eulogized her father and attacked the defendants, their attorneys and the press at his funeral on Sunday.

“Everyone was busy with destroying your good name,” she said. “They spilled your blood and shortened your life. Everyone forgot you and ran away from you because you had no more to give.

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Because they could not extort you anymore.”

“S.D.”, as the main witness in the trial against former prime minister Ehud Olmert and 15 other defendants is referred to under a gag order – which is still in effect – died in his mid-70s on Friday after multiple hospitalizations and an extended history of poor health.

The exact cause of death has not been announced, and has been the subject of much speculation, though foul play or suicide is not suspected.

The Holyland trial, which has been called one of the greatest corruption scandals in the country’s history, involves allegations that Olmert and numerous other public officials were bribed to smooth over legal and zoning obstacles for building the Holyland project in Jerusalem.

The past week of the trial, until only hours before S.D.



died, included a number of harsh and emotional exchanges between S.D. and Olmert’s lawyers, who repeatedly called him a liar, raising his ire.

His daughter’s eulogy seemed to suggest she at least partially blamed his death on his treatment in court and the stress it caused him.

“You only gave, but this has become a land that swallows its inhabitants,” she said at the funeral. “Father, we love you. We are proud of you. People are bad. Many of them are heartless. In place of investigating truthfully, they were busy with falsehoods.”

She then related the story of how her father had asked for the family’s support before choosing to turn state’s witness.

“You came to us a few years ago and you said you wanted to be a state’s witness,” she recounted. “You said, this will be my modest contribution, to tell how things happened. You asked for our consent. I am so sorry that I agreed. Forgive me that we allowed you to do this.”

The funeral was attended by around 100 people, including Liat Ben-Ari, head of the state’s economic crimes unit and lead attorney in the case. The rest of the state’s legal team for the case and his former attorney in other cases, Amnon Yitzhaki, also attended.

Another notable attendee was Meir Rabin, a former close aide to S.D. and later a defendant in the case.

S.D.’s daughter also had advice for the state and for Judge David Rozen, who has presided over the trial. She called on the state to continue with the case despite calls from some sectors to give it up.

“Don’t let [the defendants and their attorneys] confuse you,” she said to Rozen.

The state notified the Holyland defendants that Rozen said the case will continue on Monday with the state’s next witnesses, leaving the defense attorneys with less time to prepare their cross-examinations.

Several contrary messages came from the state throughout Sunday about which witnesses would be called next.

At first, there was a notice that the case would change its focus from Olmert to charges against Dan Dankner, former chairman of Bank Hapoalim and Israel Salt Industries, and Yaakov Efrati, former Israel Lands Authority head, for alleged bribery.

But later Sunday, the state said it would ask the judge for an unspecified adjournment so that it could properly prepare a whole new round of witnesses, despite having expected to continue with S.D. for another two months.

The state reemphasized that it has no intention of declaring a mistrial and will push on with the case despite any temporary delays. •

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