Mazuz: Lieberman shouldn't have been made minister

Attorney-general says civilized country should not appoint man under criminal investigation to cabinet.

lieberman thinking 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
lieberman thinking 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz launched a scathing attack on Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday, saying he should never have been made a minister. "A civilized country should not have got into such a situation," said Mazuz, referring to Lieberman being appointed to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's cabinet despite the ongoing criminal investigations against him. Police suspect Lieberman used Cypriot bank accounts registered to his daughter's name for money laundering purposes, and possibly to carry out fraud and bribery offenses. Speaking at a lawyers' conference in Eilat, the attorney-general stressed, however, "Had I thought the legal establishment should have prevented such an appointment I would have said so, as I have done in other cases." "Israel's law enforcement establishment does not fulfill its role as required," he continued. "The Israeli public sector stutters and speaks in two voices. There are those who condemn these phenomena and the offenders. But criminal suspects are appointed ministers and a minister who has been convicted even returns to become a minister. These are flaws in the establishment." Mazuz was referring to the case of former vice premier and justice minister Haim Ramon, who was convicted of committing an indecent act for forcibly kissing a female IDF officer. He said that had Ramon claimed it was a misunderstanding and apologized, the legal establishment would not have needed to get involved. "But when a minister presents it as a question of whether he or the officer lied, it cannot be left up in the air." Concerning the corruption cases against former prime minister Ehud Olmert, Mazuz insisted there was no fervor to topple him and that the legal establishment had not demanded his removal. Regarding the Bank Leumi affair against Olmert, Mazuz said that although the case had been closed, "the launching of the investigation was fully justified."