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
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
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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