Israel Bar Association leader resigns after his arrest in alleged scandal

The prime suspect denies the allegations. Justice Minister Shaked charges that leftist female MKs are inciting against her.

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

Israel Bar Association head Adv. Effi Naveh has resigned after he was named as the chief suspect in the scandal currently creating shockwaves in Israel’s legal establishment. Israel Police have been investigating allegations that Naveh advanced judicial appointments for sexual favors.

He was arrested by police Wednesday and later placed under house arrest by a court for eight days as the investigation continues.

Details of the alleged scandal remain under a court gag order, though some information has been released for publication. According to police, Naveh used his influence to ensure the appointment of a female judge to a magistrates court and set the stage for the naming of a male judge in exchange for an intimate relationship with the judge’s wife.

An unnamed female judge has been arrested as part of the investigation and placed under house arrest. She denies giving Naveh sexual favors in exchange for advancing her cause on the Judicial Selection Committee. The male judge connected to the second allegation is not considered a suspect.

Naveh has denied the accusations and noted that he was not a member of the selection committee when the alleged incidents took place.

Police reportedly want to summon Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked for questioning, although police sources have stressed that the minister is not a suspect.

Though Shaked is not believed to be connected to the alleged scandal, the investigation has brought accusations to the fore that Naveh wielded too much influence with the minister as they jointly promoted judicial reform.

As the current Knesset election campaign continues, the accusations are being used to question how this alleged scandal might hurt Shaked’s joint effort with Naftali Bennett in running their new party for the April ballot.

The justice minister reacted angrily on Thursday, charging that “leftist women MKs are exploiting the affair to incite against me.” Earlier, she had called it “a stormy day for me as the justice minister and as a woman.”

Shaked voiced confidence that “the judges in Israel are doing their work faithfully, and hopefully the investigation will be completed soon.” She denied that she has been questioned or summoned by police.

Bennett came to Shaked’s defense, saying that she has carried out an “unprecedented judicial revolution in the judicial system and, in the opinion of many including myself, is the best justice minister Israel has ever had.”

He added that he has known Shaked “for years, and that all her actions have been lawful, out of deep loyalty to one thing only – the good of the State of Israel.”