The first thought that came to mind on hearing about the latest allegations against Nir Hefetz was that it is unclear which is greater: his corruption or his stupidity. It is difficult to believe that Hefetz really approached Judge (ret.) Hila Gerstl, known for her honesty, through Eli Kamir with an offer that sounds like it came from the mafia. Offering to make Gerstl attorney general in exchange for dropping a criminal probe against Sara Netanyahu's household management is like walking up to a lion's open jaws and offering him a hot dog for his kingdom; he is, after, all the king of beasts. It is even harder to believe this in view of the fact that a similar plot was revealed years ago in the Bar-On Hevron scandal. Hefetz, it must be emphasized, asserts that he was never involved in such an offer. His lawyer, Advocate Yaron Kosteliz, called the allegation "a total invention."
As for Judge Gerstl, in commenting about her behavior in this affair, it is first of all essential to stress what should have been obvious - Gerstl rejected the corrupt offer allegedly made to her. The focus of criticism and media and public attention should therefore be on those suspected of corruption, not her. At the same time, the way Gerstl behaved after Kamir's approach is also important and a worthy subject for public discourse. It may even indicate that the offer that Kamir allegedly made to Gerstl was not so clear cut and crude as the police are now making it out to be.
In any case, it is unclear at this stage exactly how Gerstl behaved, but one thing is certain - if Gerstl did receive such a bribe offer and did not immediately run to the police, the attorney general, and the State Prosecutor's Office to report it, she made a mistake - and it was a doozy. It is likely that one of the reasons why Gerstl did not contact then-Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein about the matter was that she simply did not trust him. She preferred to discuss this sensitive matter with other people, including Supreme Court Justice Esther Hayut, who is now President of the Supreme Court. Hayut's conduct after Gerstl told her is also not sufficiently clear, but she could also give a hint about the nature of what was said. In any case, Hayut's integrity cannot be doubted.
If Hefetz links Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in any way to the corrupt offer Kamir is suspected of making to Gerstl, Netanyahu's remaining time in office will be very short. Even if Netanyahu did not know about the immoral offer, and I believe Netanyahu when he says that he knew nothing whatsoever about it, his days as prime minister are numbered.
Given the force of the criminal suspicions against him, Tuesday, February 20, 2018 can be cited as the first day of Netanyahu's remaining term as prime minister. Regardless of this serious affair, Netanyahu's behavior as revealed to date by Cases 1000, 2000, and 4000, and even before he was questioned in the submarines affair, makes him unfit to continue leading the country.
The question is one of both substance and function. Functionally, Netanyahu's conduct in the three simultaneous criminal cases against him is already obliging him, and will oblige him even more in the future, to devote a great deal of time and mental resources to the accusations against him at the expense of state affairs. In substance, the Israeli public, and this includes people who voted for Netanyahu, should not have to bear a situation in which the prime minister continues to lead the country and make fateful decisions with such major and varied suspicions pending against him. The law does not require Netanyahu to resign, but ironically, the law is now Netanyahu's last resort in this respect.
A representative of the prime minister said in response, "Nir Hefetz never made this imaginary proposal to the prime minister and his wife, was never asked by them to make such a proposal, and we do not believe that Hefetz even considered such a thing. The next thing in store is accusing the Netanyahus of murdering Arlozorov (Haim Arlozorov, murdered in 1933)."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on February 20, 2018
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