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October 18, 1991 - Image 65

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-10-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Religious Parties
Defend Member

Jerusalem (JTA) — The re-
ligious parties in the
Knesset have served notice
they will fight any move to
waive the parliamentary
immunity of Shas Knesset
member Yair Levy so the at-
torney general can prosecute
him on charges of fraud and
forgery.
Mr. Levy was officially in-
formed of the charges by
Knesset Speaker Dov
Shilansky. He was told that
State Attorney General
Yosef Harish has asked the
Knesset to strip him of his
immunity to legal action, a
privilege enjoyed by every
Knesset member.
The request goes to the
Knesset's House Committee
and, if approved, will be sent
to the plenum for a secret
ballot. Political observers
say it would win a majority.
Details of the charges
against Mr. Levy were not
immediately available to the
media but are connected
with his position as director
general of El Hama'ayan,
the educational network of
the Shas party, whose con-
stituents are Orthodox
Sephardic Jews.
The charges are
understood to involve checks
in the tens of thousands of
dollars drawn on El
Hama'ayan and allegedly
endorsed by Mr. Levy and
his wife with the forged
signatures of ostensible
beneficiaries.
Mr. Levy has denied
wrongdoing for personal
gain and contends that any
irregularities would be of a
purely technical nature.
His colleague, Arye
Gamliel, also a member of
the Shas Knesset faction, in-
sisted the charges are
"political."
The attorney general's
move capped more than a
year of police investigations
into alleged financial im-
proprieties by Shas leaders.
Principal among them is
Interior Minister Arye Deri,
who has been accused of
channeling government
funds to institutions favored
by Shas. But no charges
have yet been filed.
Shas and the three other
religious parties have a
combined total of 17 man-
dates in the 120-member
Knesset and are essential to
Prime Minister Yitzhak
Shamir's governing coali-
tion.
There was no speculation
this week over how the pros-
ecution of Mr. Levy would
affect the stability of Mr.
Shamir's government.

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