Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Shevat 5763 - January 29, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
A Prosecutor who Breaks the Law should be Prosecuted

How should you feel if one of those in charge of enforcing the law of the land takes the law into her own hands? Very worried, it would seem.

Leora Glatt-Berkowitz is a senior attorney in the Tel Aviv office of the Israel State Prosecutor. She was in charge of an investigation into some of the affairs of the current prime minister, Ariel Sharon. The raw facts, which are now known to all, are -- that Sharon and his sons got a loan from a South African citizen. These do not indicate any illegal act, though it is certainly reasonable to check them out to ensure that there was nothing illegal, given the modern sensitivity about the actions of public figures.

The investigation began well before elections were called and it was proceeding according to schedule. (A similar investigation into activities of the Labor party in the 1999 elections that were condemned by the State Comptroller is still going on, without any conclusions.) No one suggested that any favoritism was shown to the prime minister.

Yet this senior attorney who was in charge informed a reporter about a secret investigation. She surely knew that it was illegal to do this. Moreover she chose to do so a few short weeks before elections, a time when such innuendo is potentially most damaging to a person under investigation. And she chose to leak it to the newspaper, Ha'aretz, that has a longstanding hostility to Sharon: it reported that Sharon lied to Menachem Begin during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and Sharon sued it for libel.

After this, if she had not been unmasked she would have continued to coordinate the investigation. If it had gone to trial she would have prosecuted the case. As Attorney- General Elyakim Rubinstein asked, "Would any fair-minded citizen agree to have an investigation against him handled by a prosecutor who had deliberately leaked it to the press?"

Should any fair-minded state tolerate a prosecutor who leaks the early stages of an investigation to the press in such circumstances? Would any fair-minded prosecutor behave that way and then quietly continue to handle the investigation?

It is the height of hypocrisy and irresponsibility if someone acts with full knowledge of the consequences and then seeks to avoid them. If Glatt-Berkowitz acted out of pure ideological motives, as her attorney now says, then she should follow through and accept the punishment for breaking the law. Surely if anyone is to have respect for the law, then those who enforce it should be punished when they break it.

If, on the other hand, she acted out of political motives as appears to be the case and as she herself said initially, then she unquestionably deserves to be fired and prosecuted.

Only Hashem truly knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men and women. But whether the truth is as Glatt-Berkowitz originally told investigators (and they say that the full transcript of her remarks leaves no doubts) or as her clever attorney, himself a former member of the prosecutor's office, said two days later, that her motives were "pure," the timing clearly gives her actions the appearance of a political act. That should be more than enough to assure that the Israeli legal powers move against her quickly and decisively and ignore the self-serving chorus of the Left that is trying to change the subject away from her crimes.

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