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September 03, 1993 - Image 74

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-09-03

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page 71

the attorney general, opted to
"uphold the rule of law" rather
than hold up the Labor govern-
In an oblique reference to the
fact that high-placed figures in
the ministry had wagged their
fingers at him once before —
warning (incorrectly, as it
turned out) that the deportation
of 415 Hamas activists would
never stand up in court — Mr.
Rabin also let it be known that
he had "limited faith" in the
State Attorney's Office.
The High Court is scheduled
to reconvene on the Deri case
next week. Before then, how-
ever, the already thorny situa-
tion likely is to get even pricklier
when the court hears the appeal
of three political-reform move-
ments regarding the status of
Shas Deputy Minister of Reli-
gion Rafael Pinhasi. The state
has drawn up an indictment
against Mr. Pinhasi, charging
him a string of crimes related
to the misuse of public funds.
Two weeks ago, however, the
Knesset voted against lifting his
immunity, and thereby blocked
the state from pursuing that in-
dictment. The three political-re-
form movements now want the
High Court to order a new
Knesset vote (the third on this
issue) while obliging Mr. Rabin
to suspend Mr. Pinhasi until
the conclusion of legal proceed-

ings against him.
The Deri and Pinhasi cases
differ in formal details. Yet the
core issue of whether ministers
living under the shadow of in-
dictments should be left in
charge of large administrative
mechanisms and massive bud-
gets is essentially the same.
The attorney general's posi-
tion on the Pinhasi case has not
yet been disclosed. However, af-
ter expressing his view that "to
hold a high public office, a can-
didate must be not only inno-
cent of any crime but above
suspicion of having committee
a crime," it's hard to see how he
can recommend that Mr. Pin-
hasi be permitted to remain in
his post.
Shas is of course up in arms
again and pursuing a loud cam-
paign against the legal estab-
lishment for holding a "witch
hunt" against the party. Giv-
en their day in court, moveover,
the Shas ministers might even
be able to prove that point.
But the question under de-
bate today is a different one:
whether the values and norms
that fall under the broad rubric
of "the rule of law," such as
equality before the law, can ever
safely be sacrificed to political
expediency — or, put more
bluntly, whether democratic so-
cieties can reasonably argue
that the ends justify the
means. ❑

Peres Denies Report
Of PLO Meeting

Jerusalem (JTA) — Foreign
Minister Shimon Peres has
denied a media report that
he met with a high-level
Palestine Liberation Organ-
ization official in Stockholm
last week.
The report, which ap-
peared in the newspaper
Yediot Achronot, claimed
the meeting took place, but
did not identify with whom.
Mr. Peres said that he had
not met with any PLO offi-
cials during his recent tour
of Scandinavia.
According to the news-
paper, the meeting was ar-
ranged by Yoel Singer, who
was recently appointed legal
adviser of the Foreign Min-
In the past, Mr. Singer
served as liaison between
Mr. Peres and Nabil
Sha'ath, one of PLO leader
Yassir Arafat's senior ad-
Mr. Sha'ath met recently

in Cairo with Israeli Envi-
ronment Minister Yossi
Sand and Knesset member
Dedi Zucker, both members
of the dovish Meretz bloc.
Prime Minister Yitzhak
Rabin reportedly gave his
prior consent to the meeting.
Although it was not offi-
cially confirmed, Mr. Peres
was believed to have en-
couraged the series of
meetings that have been
held during the past few
months between Israelis and
heads of the PLO.
Mr. Peres believes that
stronger personal ties bet-
ween Israeli and PLO policy-
makers could hasten the
reaching of an interim
agreement with the Palesti-
He said a preliminary deal
had already been worked
out, which increased hopes
that an agreement in the
peace talks will soon be
reached. ❑

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