Arviv, sayonara
Hebrew media review

Arviv, sayonara

Embattled police officer resigns, leaving questions as to whether he or a celebrity rabbi will be prosecuted

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Menashe Arviv announces his retirement from the Israel Police, February 9, 2014 (screen capture: Channel 2)
Menashe Arviv announces his retirement from the Israel Police, February 9, 2014 (screen capture: Channel 2)

A top cop in hot water has called it quits from the force over the corruption allegations against him in the Pinto case. Menashe Arviv resigned in front of the TV cameras Sunday night, making front page news Monday morning. Meanwhile, fed-up doctors and nurses at Hadassah Hospital escalated their strike over not being paid by the broke medical center.

Regarding Arviv, the former major general and head of the Israel Police’s corruption unit, Maariv reports that in his resignation speech he “attacked the management of Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, who is engaged in negotiations with the attorney of Rabbi [Yoshiyahu] Pinto for leniency in exchange for incriminating material against the major general.”

Israel Hayom quotes Arviv in its headline saying “I won’t participate in this game.” Arviv, it reports, railed against the legal system, saying that during the month since he was implicated in the corruption case, “I turned several times to the attorney general and the state’s attorney and demanded they invite me for an investigation so I could relate to every charge pointed at me.”

“For a month I sat at home at my own expense, but nobody came to me and asked to hear my version,” he said.

Haaretz writes that if a criminal case is opened against the former cop, it will likely be for fraud and breach of trust. It reports that the negotiations with Pinto’s lawyer will likely yield a plea deal, but a charge sheet will be lodged against the rabbi in any case, as Arviv’s resignation leaves Pinto open for prosecution, it says.

Haim Shain writes in Israel Hayom that Arviv did the “right and necessary thing with his resignation from the ranks of the police.”

“There is no place for naive officers who arrive in the courts of high-profile rabbis, see their behavior and continue to remain there even a few minutes,” he says, referring to Arviv’s connection with Pinto.

Regarding Pinto, he says that it’s the duty of any citizen to report police misconduct, but someone who demands immunity in exchange makes himself suspect of criminal activity. “With the ultimate criminals you don’t negotiate, you serve them a charge and the court will decide if there’s a basis of guilt or innocence.” He hopes that now that Arviv resigned, Weinstein will go after Pinto.

Baruch Kara writes in Maariv that Arviv tried to engender public sympathy with his address Sunday night, but “his explanations for resigning were forced and not convincing. In the end, Arviv simply gambled.” Had he resigned when the corruption scandal broke last month, Weinstein may have dropped any notion of a case against him, Kara writes. If he drops the case against Arviv, Weinstein will have to explain to the public what the suspicions against Pinto are and on what testimony they’re based.

“The attorney general will be asked to explain why he preferred a charge against Pinto over criminal investigation of a major general in the police,” he writes. Weinstein could say that the Pinto case was a sure thing and that Arviv was too hazy to bring to trial. Alternatively, he says, Arviv’s gamble could fail and Weinstein could strike a deal with Pinto’s lawyers and bring the big fish to trial.

The headline on Yedioth Ahronoth’s lead coverage of the Hadassah story is “Emergency situation.” It reports that nurses and administrators are joining the doctors’ strike, meaning the two hospitals in Jerusalem will effectively shut down except for births and critical cases. Doctors nationwide will go on strike on Tuesday for two hours in solidarity with their colleagues at Hadassah, who have only received half pay for the month of January.

“After the management trampled our right to earn a decent living, it seeks to take advantage of the stay of proceedings to hurt pension and employee funds. It throws mud and muck on us to obscure the grave damage to our collective rights,” Hadassah union chief Amnon Baruchian is quoted saying.

Israel Hayom reports that “even if Hadassah succeeds in paying the employees’ salaries, according to the arrangement presented in the stay of proceedings, the management intends to pay only 90 percent of the salaries.” Such a move would not break the strike, however.

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