De Hartog returns to Justice Ministry, but to different post, after slap

Justice Ministry official Amnon de Hartog returned to work Monday, but not to his old job of supervising government grants to haredi institutions. On July 10 he slapped United Torah Judaism MK Ya'acov Cohen, who had accused him of being "worse than the Germans." De Hartog had long been at odds with religious MKs whose budget requests he questioned. The incident was the culmination of years of personal attacks against him by haredi MKs and in the haredi press. De Hartog was born in Holland and lost 20 family members during the Holocaust. Police launched a criminal investigation against the veteran civil servant after the incident. He immediately took a leave of absence. On Sunday, the Justice Ministry announced: "Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander has decided to accept the recommendation of the Justice Ministry and temporarily transfer Amnon de Hartog from his present job to another one in the ministry. This decision will be reexamined in the future in accordance with developments." De Hartog returned to work on Monday and told The Jerusalem Post he was still examining various job possibilities in the ministry. Asked whether haredi leaders had managed to achieve their declared aim of ousting a perceived nemesis from his Civil Service post, and if there were possible consequences, the Justice Ministry declined to comment. The Justice Ministry spokesman said the decision "was made by the Civil Service commissioner in accordance with his powers granted in the Civil Service Law (Discipline), and in accordance with customary rules regarding a civil servant who is under criminal investigation." The Civil Service commissioner had made it clear that in relieving de Hartog of his post, he had acted in accordance with the Justice Ministry recommendation. The Justice Ministry spokesman said Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz had not been involved in the decision because de Hartog had served as his assistant.