Middle East

Top lawyer at center of Israel judicial sex scandal

Israeli Bar Association chairman named as chief suspect in scandal that has country’s judiciary reeling

Anees Suheil Barghouti   | 17.01.2019
Top lawyer at center of Israel judicial sex scandal

JERUSALEM 

Efraim Nave, chairman of Israel’s Bar Association, was named as a main suspect on Thursday in a sex scandal that has rocked Israel’s judicial establishment prompting him to resign from his post.

Along with a female judge and the wife of another judge, Nave was arrested Wednesday evening before being released on bail. 

He remains, however, confined to his home.

Nave, who has been interrogated by a police anti-corruption unit, has been charged with fraud and breach of trust for allegedly advancing the career of the female judge two years ago in exchange for sexual favors. 

He is also suspected of having had sexual relations with the wife of another judge in exchange for helping the latter obtain a position at a district court. 

The scandal has reverberated throughout Israel’s judicial establishment, including the Justice Ministry, Supreme Court and Attorney-General’s Office. 

Members of Israel’s Judicial Selection Committee have reportedly been asked to provide testimony in the case, including Israel’s chief justice and justice minister. 

Nave was elected chairman of Israel’s Bar Association in 2015. 

The scandal has prompted members of Israel’s opposition to blame Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked for “ruining” and “politicizing” the judicial system. 

“The Judicial Selection Committee has been operating under the intimidation and corruption of Justice Minister Shaked,” opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich said in a statement. 

“The destructive partnerships created by Shaked are the basis for the horrific affair being exposed today,” she added. 

Yachimovich called for quick legal action to resolve the crisis, asserting that there was “a cloud of doubt over all judges appointed during the Shaked era”.

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