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Thursday, February 02, 2006 

Tzahi HaNegbi to be indicted, and deservedly so

From the leftist Jerusalem Post:
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz on Thursday decided to file an indictment against Minister-without-Portfolio Tzahi Hanegbi, conditional on the outcome of a hearing, on charges that he made dozens of improper political appointments while serving as Minister of the Environment.

Mazuz said Hanegbi would be charged with fraud and breach of faith, election bribery, perjury, and making a false oath. The most serious of the charges, perjury, calls for a maximum prison sentence of seven to nine years.

Mazuz ordered police to investigate Hanegbi, who was then serving as Minister for Internal Security, on September 1, 2004, one week after State Comptroller Eliezer Goldberg published a scathing 80-page report on "political and improper appointments in the Ministry of the Environment" during Hanegbi's term in office between 2001 and 2003.

Goldberg wrote, "Hanegbi's actions brutally trampled the law and the rules of proper administration, politicized the public service and exploited public resources to advance his personal and political interests."

It was Hanegbi himself who triggered the chain of events that have led to his near-certain indictment. During the Likud primaries for the slate of party candidates for the 16th Knesset, a newspaper distributed to the 3,000 Central Committee members who were to pick the slate, boasted that Hanegbi had found jobs in the Environment Ministry for 80 Central Committee members or their relatives.
Hanegbi's indictment is richly deserved. Not only were his actions a stain upon the Likud, which has been making impressive efforts recently to repair its image by advocating and working on more honesty and respect for law and order, but his loyalty to the state of Israel has also been quite questionable, even before he split to Kadima. A couple of years ago, the same newspaper reported that his protests against the retreat from Sinai and Yamit may have been fake, staged, perhaps in order to undermine effective opposition to the retreat.

HaNegbi did at least have the decency to resign his Knesset seat before departing, probably because he figured that he could make things look worse for himself by "robbing" a seat from the party that's lucky to be rid of him now. And with the indictment against him, it's likely that HaNegbi won't be able to run in the elections either.

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