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Judicial corruption exposure resurfaces - in time to save Netanyahu?

Marianne Azizi photo
Marianne AziziIsrael
Judicial corruption exposure resurfaces - in time to save Netanyahu?
After 7 years, a whistleblowing judge's video resurfaces, goes viral. Is it just a coincidence?

How will Netanyahu be indicted in a corrupt Judiciary, as Judge whistleblower video resurfaces?

Israel is in political chaos. Since December I have been reporting on the anti corruption protests taking place every week in Petach Tikvah in Israel. The core issues were to demand Attorney General investigation into corruption in the State. The second tier of corruption under the Ministers is now being pushed backstage, as political movements took over the protests and it has become a stage for political grandstanding. Many of the thousands of people gathering in Petach Tikvah over recent weeks may not even know the deep rooted corruption which brought a few brave activists out in all weathers for almost six months. They may not have seen the police brutality against those few; including the assault of whisteblower Manny Naftali whose arm was broken. Nor may they know about the deep rooted corruption which Shuki Mishol and Rafi Rotem of the Tax Authority 15 have campaigned on for over 13 years. Shuki himself was imprisoned this year for 540 shekels as the corrupt under scrutiny were searching for a way to silence him. Rafi Rotem was declared a felon last year, and ordered to be silenced or face prison.

The world spotlight is on the political front - will Netanyahu survive or not. Literally within a couple of weeks on what had become routine protests, there was a new dynamic. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak showed up to make a speech, followed by many other politicians. Channel 10 had followed one protest ‘live’, filming a moment In which a coach pulled up, with police randomly arresting people on the street.

Now Channel 2 are showing huge swathes of Netanyahu supporters. The core protestors know that to focus on the Prime Minister is to miss the point. If he goes, and is replaced, the middle tier of corruption will continue. The reason protests began were not aimed at the Prime Minister, but at the core of corruption in the veins of the country.

The backbone of any democracy is a strong judicial system – which has at the minimum checks and balances, and the ability to go to an independent complaints commission or take a complaint to an international body. Israel has nothing to offer. The ombudsman for the judges receives countless complaints, and even if they uphold a ruling that a judge acted illegally – the decision is not altered, nor are any actions taken against judges. Judges are not elected, and have a job for life.

So is it a coincidence that a District Court Judge who blew the whistle 7 years ago, has suddenly gone viral in FB in Israel. In less than 2 days, a video copied into FB has reached almost 200,000 views, whilst only receiving a couple of thousand views since it was released in 2010.

The Judge Sheli Timan, had his fair share of making corrupt decisions in his career. In one such example – Moshe Gorelik lost his reputation and freedom due to a false claim and false imprisonment.

The reason why the video has resurfaced does not detract from its truth. Judge Timan says in the video:

“I left my job absolutely convinced that I’m doing the right thing, because I felt I couldn’t serve the cause of justice anymore.

“There are people who are rotting away in prison. Many of them still haven’t even been brought to trial yet or convicted [of any crime]. Others are completely innocent of doing any crime, “I’m very sorry to say it, but the Israeli police are stitching people up, and fabricating charges.”

Protests grow every week as do investigations; Minister Haim Katz and his son, Minister Ari Deri and his wife, Sara and Benjamin Netanyahu. The list goes on, and as one criminal lawyer in Israel said today – “State witnesses are queuing from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

There is no doubt Israel is facing a crisis. However, the human and civil rights abuse is now in the shadows with parents and children being abused by the system on a daily basis; the judicial service avoids accountability and it begs the question – did this valid attack on the corrupt judiciary become available just in time to prevent indictments given the need to clean up the system?

Meanwhile the two bloggers who continually exposed such corruption and their human rights lawyer have now been incarcerated for 6 months, pending trial, for indictments of ‘insulting public officials.’

The hypocrisy is plain to see.

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