Shlomo Lahiani bat yam mayor 370.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Friday criticized as "extremely unreasonable" the decision by Bat Yam's City Council not to depose Mayor Shlomi Lahiani after he was indicted on October 1 on bribery, fraud and breach of public trust charges.
In response to a High Court petition which aims to fire Lahiani and disqualify him from running for reelection on October 22, Weinstein said that Lahiani's fate should mirror that of the mayors of Upper Nazareth and Ramat Hasharon who were forced to step down by the High Court because they were facing indictments.
The High Court was scheduled to discuss the petition against Lahiani's standing for reelection on Sunday.
Weinstein expressed his opinion that Lahiani was unfit to run for reelection prior to Wednesday's decision by the Bat Yam City Council to allow him to run.
The attorney-general said prior to the decision that he hoped that the Bat Yam City Council would take action against Lahiani, as they had legislative power to remove him even without a court decision.
Lahiani is suspected of taking between NIS 800-900,000 in bribes, starting in 2005, to advance the interests of local businessmen in Bat Yam and asking nine municipality employees to take bank loans and transfer the money to him.
Lahiani is also accused of a conflict of interest for holding partial ownership in a local newspaper from which the Bat Yam municipality bought advertising space.
Prior to the indictment, Lahiani was considered a highly popular mayor and was credited with a level of revitalization of Bat Yam.
Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.