For several weeks we have seen the suffering of former Prime
Minister Netanyahu and his wife as they are thoroughly
investigated for possible crimes in the full glare of the
First there was a suspicion that a contractor had done work
for the Prime Minister and had not received payment. The
newspaper that uncovered these suspicions reported them to
the police even before they published the scoop.
The story was duly published, and the investigation was fully
reported in the press, including who was questioned and for
how long, and even what was said during the questioning. This
information is supposed to be private. There is no public
right to know about suspicions and investigations that often
turn out to have no basis. Nonetheless, the public was force
fed many details of the investigation.
Apparently, nothing substantive was found along those lines.
However, a new line of investigation was opened, that perhaps
Netanyahu had kept some of the gifts given him during his
tenure as prime minister. This is not even really a legal
crime, but only a violation of the regulations governing
public servants. No one has even been investigated on similar
suspicions, though there were publicized cases of other
government officials who took gifts.
The cameras were already present when the police arrived to
search the Netanyahu family's home, office and a government
storage room that did contain belongings of the Netanyahu
family but to which they did not even have the keys. Mr. and
Mrs. Netanyahu were questioned for 8 hours (!) about this
Many observers noted that the desire of the police for
publicity and political interests certainly appear to play a
very large role in the conduct of the entire affair.
The humiliation to which the Netanyahus were subjected
without any protest from the legal establishment, stands in
stark contrast to the standards that the High Court set in
respect for the human dignity of suspected terrorists and
even those thought to be "human time bombs" who have
information that could prevent the murder and maiming of
dozens of innocent people.
"A reasonable investigation is an investigation without
torture, without a cruel or inhuman behavior towards the
person being questioned, without behaving towards him in a
demeaning manner . . . Human dignity is also the dignity of a
person under investigation." (from the decision of the High
Court to ban the use of limited methods of physical pressure
in interrogating suspected terrorists)
The High Court insisted that these standards be applied to
people who are the lowest of the low, since they kill
wantonly. Yet we see that the system does not even behave
this way to a former prime minister.
The police behave this way time and again, and their actions
are only defended by the ministers in charge of them. It was
reported that the Minister of Internal Security ordered an
internal investigation of the leaks, but Yated has
reported in the past on the efficacy of police investigations
of themselves, which is very low.
The Justices of the High Court are clearly not in touch with
the nature of the system they head. From top to bottom it
needs a thorough overhaul and the implementation of standards
of decency and propriety -- which should include former prime
ministers no less than suspected terrorists.