Not long ago, Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto was considered an up-and-coming powerbroker in Israeli business and political life. But as a second round of allegations emerged about him bribing a top cop, the rabbi is facing indictment for bribery and his friends in politics can no longer be found.
Israel Hayom goes all “Law & Order”-y with the headline “The State of Israel vs. Rabbi Pinto.” Pinto made headlines weeks ago when allegations came out that he had bribed Menashe Arviv, head of Israel’s police anti-corruption unit. The paper writes that Pinto tried to leverage that charge to get other bribery charges against him dismissed, but the State didn’t go for it. Israel Hayom called the negotiations between Pinto and the State, “a giant battle of the wills until the last minute.”
That last minute was when Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein decided to indict Pinto on charges of attempting to bribe Deputy Inspector General Ephraim Bracha with $200,000.
What about Menashe Arviv? Yedioth Ahronoth reports on the top cop, who recently resigned after the allegations were made against him. “I fell on my sword so that Rabbi Pinto could be tried and receive the punishment he deserves,” the paper quotes Arviv saying. It also reports that the investigation against Arviv has been put on hold following the announcement of Pinto’s pending indictment.
All the papers agree that bribing a cop is bad, but ask them about Wednesday’s speech by the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, in the Knesset and you’ll get wildly different answers.
Maariv gives two pages to the speech, where the big kerfuffle came when the German-speaking Schulz asked the Knesset about the difference in water usage between Israelis and the Palestinians. This caused members of the Jewish Home party to storm out of the Knesset. Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party, later said, “We will not shut up when they spit on us and tell lies.”
Netanyahu wasn’t quite as fired up as Bennett over the speech, saying, “In all honestly, he said, ‘I didn’t check.’ But that didn’t prevent him from casting aspersions.”
Alongside the article is an op-ed by columnist Ben-Dror Yemini, who writes that what’s annoying about Schulz’s speech is that he’s a good person, a friend of Israel and his speech was fair, but that he fell into “the trap.” Though Yemini doesn’t really fault Schulz since he receives reports from EU human rights groups that are “composed, usually, of radical leftists,” who will do anything, “including deception, manipulation and lies, to say that Israel harms Palestinians.” Yemini concludes, “Schulz is not an enemy. He is misguided. Instead of attacking him we should take the opportunity to correct his mistakes.”
While Maariv may think that Schulz was in the wrong, Haaretz columnist Yossi Verter goes after the Knesset members who walked out, specifically those from the Jewish Home party. “Members of Jewish Home can apparently only stomach compliments like those delivered by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.” He called the walkout a display of victimhood that “broke all records for foolishness and embarrassment in our legislature.” He lambastes Bennett’s angry tirade against Schulz, saying, “Bennett once again forgot that he is a senior minister who is expected to observe basic norms of behavior.”
In Israel Hayom, Dror Idar goes to the extreme and equates Schulz’s speech to blood libel. He also says “the EU’s appeasing of the Palestinians – along with trying to subvert certain Israeli governments – actually perpetuates war and terror.” He even drags John Kerry into the mix, saying, “The sums of money coming into the pockets of senior Palestinians strengthen the international war against Israel, so the Palestinians have no reason to settle for anything. John Kerry and Martin Schulz are doing the job for them.”
Yedioth doesn’t forget about Hadassah hospital, writing about how the general strike is affecting patients. The paper tells a surreal story of a patient after a kidney transplant who tried to get nurses’ attention for hours, but couldn’t due to the strike. The nurses were also upset, one saying, “Patients are asking for help and we have to refuse due to the strike.” The paper aptly concludes, “This is what a hospital in deep crisis looks like.”
Israel Hayom focuses on another aspect of the crisis, the golden parachute of former Hadassah director Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef. Mor-Yosef defended himself against charges that he led the hospital to its current crisis and then took the money and ran. The paper reports that Mor-Yosef’s exit pay was worth about 1.8 million shekels (about $500,000). “I was an excellent manager,” he said during a meeting of the Knesset Finance Committee. “You may speak about the bonuses, but what’s not written is that the bonuses were not taken.”
The editors of Haaretz take on Hadassah as well, calling for a committee of inquiry into what happened with the hospital. Aside from creating a recovery plan for two Jerusalem medical centers, the paper calls for an “accounting of past actions” to prevent this from happening again. It is the Israeli public who will pay for Hadassah’s mismanagement, but the paper wants a committee with “teeth” to go after the managers who allowed this to happen. This way it will be “clear that administrative failure in the public sector will have a personal cost.”