Avigdor Kahalani, internal security minister between June
1996 and July 1999, was acquitted of charges alleging that
during his term as minister he passed information on to
Ma'ariv publisher Ofer Nimrodi regarding a secret
police investigation against him, as well as related breach
of trust and obstruction of justice charges.
Nimrodi, whose trial continues, has been accused of
conspiracy to murder, suborning witnesses, and obstruction
The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court cleared Kahalani of the
charges due to lack of evidence, after his attorney, Dov
Weisglass, requested the indictment be dropped as the
prosecution had failed to prove any of the charges.
"Kahalani returns home today after a long and arduous
journey, replete with hardship and pain," Judge Oded Elyagon
wrote in his exoneration of Kahalani. "He has survived
perhaps the most difficult of all the battles in his life:
the battle for his honor as a citizen and his honor as a
person." Elyagon characterized the entire investigation of
Kahalani as "a trial balloon" that ended up with nothing
more than "hot air."
The prosecution had argued that Kahalani knowingly harmed
the Nimrodi investigation by agreeing to discuss the state's
witness contract. But Elyagon stated that Kahalani's
involvement in the discussion of Nimrodi's case was
legitimate, and criticized police for not clearly indicating
to Kahalani which material was classified, and how to treat
In an interview on Israel Radio, Kahalani labelled Police
Cmdr. Moshe Mizrahi as instrumental in the charges against
him, noting that Mizrahi had been promoted after the charges
were issued. He added that he had been targeted. "Someone
ought to pay the price," he said.
"If this could happen to me it could happen to any citizen
in the country," Kahalani said, adding that the correct
"conclusions must be drawn," before another innocent citizen
Despite a lack of evidence against Kahalani, police
nevertheless decided to press charges, Weisglass said,
adding that the judge had agreed to acquit Kahalani on the
grounds that there was no need for the former minister to
testify, because there were no charges against which he had
to defend himself, Weisglass said.
Citing a string of criminal cases in which public figures
were acquitted after prolonged legal battles, Jerusalem
Mayor Ehud Olmert blasted state prosecutors for poor
judgment, reserving particular scorn for what he called
State Prosecutor Edna Arbel's "utter failure in carrying out
her job." He also denounced reporters for "collaborating"
with police in persecuting officials for spurious