State attorney announces resignation

Eran Shendar says he'll step down in the summer after three years in office.

jp.services2 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
State Attorney Eran Shendar announced on Wednesday that he will leave office in August, after completing three years of his six-year term. The resignation comes as no surprise. Shendar was called out of retirement by Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz in 2004 to succeed then-state attorney Edna Arbel, who subsequently was appointed to the Supreme Court. Six months ago, Shendar told Haaretz, "Six years is too long a period. I will not stay here all that time. After I finish here, I will not need any chill-out time. I will go home to provide for my family, and not in the economic sense of the term." Shendar started working as a police prosecutor in 1980. In 1982, he joined the Jerusalem District Attorney's Office and served as a criminal prosecutor until 1991. He was then picked by the Justice Ministry to set up the Police Investigations Department, which became responsible for investigating complaints against policemen. Until then, the police had investigated their own staff. After 12 years in the job, he retired. The PID under his leadership was criticized for allegedly being too lenient with officers under investigation. Things came to a head when the PID allegedly conducted a lax probe of the killings of 12 Israeli Arabs and one Palestinian during the October 2000 riots, and then stopped investigating as soon as a committee of investigation was established. Shendar was also mentioned by the Zeiler Committee in connection with the allegations against Dep.-Cmdr. Yoram Levy. In 2000, the PID received allegations that Levy had problematic connections with the Perinian brothers and was protecting their casinos. The committee wrote that it was not clear what the PID did with the complaint, but the file was closed on February 5, 2002, without any action taken. Despite these criticisms, Mazuz wanted Shendar, who did not put his candidacy forward, and rejected all the candidates who did. The fact is that unlike the troubled relations that existed between Arbel and former attorney-general Elyakim Rubinstein, there has not been a single known such incident between Mazuz and Shendar. Shendar was careful to stay in the background. "I don't accept the media's need to personify everything," he told Haaretz in the same interview. "I think that what is important is the State Attorney's Office. It doesn't bother me that the media won't write, 'The state attorney decided.' What is important is that the state attorney acted. "Perhaps if I wanted another job, I would try to get my name in print. But I don't, and so I don't have to build myself up in the media." During his time as state attorney, Shendar was involved in decisions to file many indictments and to open many police investigations. Among the best known are the indictments of MKs Haim Ramon, Tzahi Hanegbi and Shlomo Benizri, former MKs Michael Gorlovsky, Yehiel Hazan and Yair Peretz, and the investigations of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson, top figures in the Tax Authority and MK Azmi Bishara. Mazuz issued a statement regretting Shendar's decision and saying he "wanted to point out the close and fruitful cooperation that characterized their work together, which was based on mutual confidence and appreciation and on collegial and friendly relations."