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August 27, 1993 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-08-27

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New Court Ruling
Lenghtens Jail Terms

Jerusalem (JTA) — In a
move that could further
destabilize Israel's coalition
government, the Supreme
Court here has lengthened
the jail sentences imposed on
several figures of the Shas
party convicted on wiretapp-
ing charges.
The court ruling came this
week as the result of an ap-
peal by the state, which con-
sidered the original
sentences too lenient.
The ruling is seen in polit-
ical circles as another blow
to the already weakened
links holding together the
Labor Party's coalition with
the Shas party and the
Meretz bloc.
Two top Shas party offi-
cials, Interior Minister
Aryeh Beni and Deputy Re-
ligious Affairs Minister
Raphael Pinhasi, have been
given notice they will be in-
dicted for financial im-
proprieties if the Knesset
strips them of their
parliamentary immunity.
Their cases have already
led to threats that Shas will
abandon the Labor govern-
ment. The latest Supreme
Court ruling, involving
other Shas officials, does
little to alleviate fears of a
defection by the haredi, or
fervently Orthodox, party.
The court ruling involved
three of six men convicted of
illegally wiretapping a
for tiler chief of police and an
investigative reporter, both
of whom were looking into
Mr. Deri's financial deal-
Most highly placed among
them is Eli Tsuberi. a close
aide to the deputy housing
minister, Rabbi Aryeh
Gamliel, also of Shas. Mr.
Tsuberi will now serve eight
months in prison instead of
the three in the original
Reacting to the ruling,
Rabbi Gamliel said the
state's appeal was an exam-
ple of the "relentless
persecution and discrimina-
tion" perpetrated by the
Justice Ministry and its
various departments against
"Tsuberi deserves the
Israel Prize" for exposing
the plot against Shas by
former Police Inspector-
General Ya'acov Terrier and
journalist Mordechai Gilat,
Rabbi Gamliel said, referr-
in g to Israel's most
prestigious award.
Mr. Gilat, an investigative

reporter for the mass-
circulation Israeli daily
Yediot Achronot, had been
researching the police file on
Mr. Deri. His published
allegations against Mr. Deri
formed the basis of a three-
year police investigation
that has now resulted in a
charge sheet against the
Mr. Tsuberi refused
throughout his trial to
testify as to who had ordered
the wiretap, saying he had
taken a religious oath not to
disclose any information.
The Supreme Court bench,
convening as a High Court of
Justice, said in its judgment
that such an "oath" natural-
ly raised a presumption that
the accused had something
to hide.
The court is currently
hearing applications from
various citizens' groups

Two top Shas party
officials will be
indicted for

seeking to remove Mr. Deri
and Mr. Pinhasi from their
ministerial positions.
The Knesset recently
voted not to remove Mr.
Pinhasi's parliamentary
immunity; it will debate
Der is immunity next mon-
Political observers believe
that court decisions against
both Mr. Deri and Mr.
Pinhasi would lead fairly
swiftly to Shas' secession
from the government.
Shas' spiritual leader,
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, has to
date instructed the party,
which holds six Knesset
seats, to stay loyal to the
But Rabbi Yosef has warn-
ed that if Mr. Deri and Mr.
Pinhasi are removed from
their posts, Shas will quit
the governing coalition.
Rabbi Gamliel has long
advocated Shas' secession
from the government, and he
reiterated his call following
the Supreme Court's latest
But he conceded that other
party leaders "still have
faith in the judicial system)
— though I do not. As far as I
am concerned, we are in
galut (exile) in Israel."

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