חשיפה: השופט הבכיר החשוד בשחיתות בפרשת אפי נווה הוא איתן אורנשטיין, שמונה (על פי החשד) בסיועו של נווה לתפקיד נשיא בית המשפט המחוזי בת”א
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In this blog, I’ve documented massive fraud, bribery, corruption and sexual abuse in all of the major sectors of Israeli society: political, military, intelligence, police. Earlier this year, I broke a gag order which prohibited reporting on a major new scandal involving the chief of the Israeli bar association, Efi Naveh. The last time I reported about him he’d been accused of promoting a police prosecutor, Eti Craif, with whom he was having an affair. Either he suggested sex in return for the judgeship and she agreed; or she offered it to him and he agreed. At any rate, she did secure the promotion with the added help of Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, who herself had formed an alliance with Naveh to secure judgeships for her own preferred candidates.
Shaked has a squeaky clean image as a minister, though in terms of Israeli politics, the term is relative. And she conducted business hand in glove with Naveh. So it’s hard to believe she will come out of this unscathed.
In a separate case, Naveh had sex with a judge’s wife, who sought her husband’s judicial promotion. After Naveh secured the job, the judge was accused of sexually abusing his daughter. Charges were quietly dropped by authorities. This blog broke that story as well, which was at the time under a separate gag order. I tell you, it’s one big happy family!
Sex has been traded for many things throughout history, but a judgeship? That takes things to a whole new level.
Now, there’s a new tale to tell: the Efi Naveh scandal began when someone gave a crime reporter Naveh’s cell phone. She hacked the phone and began examining the contents. When she did, she realized there was so much criminality exposed that she’d better hand it in to police, lest she be accused of subverting justice. The reporter has since been granted immunity from prosecution.
At that point, the police and State prosecutor had a gold mine of scandal and corruption in their hands, which they proceeded to investigate. But somehow (and again we’re talking about the ‘wonder’ that is the leak-filled Israeli police force) the entire contents of Naveh’s phone have been leaked to various individuals including reporters. Most cannot publish any of it because it is all under gag order. That’s where I come in.
An Israeli has shared with me the transcript of text conversations between Eitan Orenstein, chief judge of the Tel Aviv District Court, the largest such judicial unit in Israel, and Naveh. In their exchange, they share mutual compliments and then expose an explicit agreement between them. Orenstein was then one among three candidates for the chief judge position. Naveh agreed to secure the votes of two attorneys who were members of the committee which oversaw judicial appointments. He also acted specifically to sabotage the candidacy of one of the candidates. Further, he spoke to an internal committee consisting of senior judges in favor of Orenstein. In return, Naveh confirmed that he expected that the judge would perform an unspecified act to benefit the tort lawyers. Here’s the salient passage:
Naveh (to Orenstein): You are the most suitable and worthy candidate [for chief judge] and we will fight for you
Naveh: Now you must uphold your single promise which we both agreed to on behalf of the tort lawyers…
This would clearly indicate an act of bribery, as both parties have agreed to perform acts which have material value.
The corruption goes beyond judges as well: noted Israeli TV commentator, Attila Somfalvi, was paid thousands of dollars to participate in lawyer panels organized by Naveh, all while reporting on Naveh and his law firm. Apparently, his print and broadcast media employers didn’t find this to be a conflict of interest.
Orenstein’s participation in this scheme is under police gag order. Israeli media have reported Naveh’s role, but may not name the chief judge. Perhaps because the latter has cooperated with the police in the investigation and they’re trying to protect him and his reputation.
Haaretz reports that despite all the other charges investigated by the police against Naveh, they determined not to pursue this one. The likely reason is that the evidence was not procured in a fashion that would allow it to withstand court challenge.
Even before reaching his current position, Orenstein’s close relationship with Naveh, head of the national lawyers bar, was well-known. The former was a bankruptcy judge before the promotion. In such a role, judges may steer lucrative cases to lawyers and Calcalist reports that this is likely how the two began their shady dealings. Orenstein was an honored guest at social gatherings of senior bankruptcy attorneys at which such “arrangements” were discussed and sealed.
The bankruptcy judge was ambitious and wanted to become chief judge for years before he succeeded. That’s why Naveh became an instrumental aide for his advancement. Naveh, when they first met, was himself a junior player among the nation’s lawyers, heading the Tel Aviv region. He too was ambitious and sought to overthrow the chief of the national lawyer’s bar. He eventually did so with the help of many of those he had himself helped, including Orenstein.
To show you how frightened Israeli media is of even coming near violating the gag order, Israeli TV Channel 13 aired a news segment on this story and acknowledged it had been reported abroad by “an American.” There’s only 375-million of us. Could you be a little more specific??