High Court rejects petition to fire Hanegbi

Rules that because no indictment has been filed, law doesn't require him to step down.

tzahi hanegbi 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
tzahi hanegbi 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The High Court of Justice on Monday rejected a petition by the Movement for Quality Government calling on Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to fire Tzahi Hanegbi from the cabinet. The watchdog organization submitted the petition after Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz announced that he had decided to indict Hanegbi for political appointments he allegedly made while serving as Minister of the Environment during the years 2001-2003. But Mazuz added that he would only make his final decision after granting Hanegbi a hearing. The court has already ruled in the past that a minister served with an indictment must resign. In its ruling on Tuesday, however, it pointed out that even this ruling, made in the case of former Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, had been handed down in a situation where the allegations against the minister had been particularly serious. In the case of Hanegbi, not only had Mazuz not made a final decision as to whether to indict him, but also had not even prepared the draft of the indictment he planned to file if he did not change his mind following the hearing. The court suggested that in the future, the Attorney-General only announce his final decision about whether or not to indict a suspect after holding the hearing.