Two topics, both reflecting horribly on Israeli public officials and civil servants, dominate the agenda of the country’s main Hebrew newspapers Tuesday. The first, the 10-hour investigation of an ex-top cop over bribery allegations; the second, Likud MK Oren Hazan’s apparently wild playboy lifestyle before his days as a lawmaker, when he managed a casino abroad.
While both Israel Hayom and Yedioth Ahronoth pixelate the senior policeman’s face and simply refer to him as a “high-ranking officer” in an attempt to mask his identity, Haaretz straight out names the deputy commissioner alongside a full image of him walking the halls of the Jerusalem facility where he was questioned. Interestingly enough, in its caption accompanying the pixelated picture, Yedioth states that the law does not permit the disclosure of the officer’s identity before he is brought before a judge. The legal justification under which Haaretz chose to publish the commissioner’s name and violate the gag order is not clear.
Back to the suspected bribery case itself: The senior police official, Yedioth tells us, was summoned to the Police Internal Investigations Department in Jerusalem to be questioned over allegations he had been promised a position at a leading construction company after retiring from active service. The officer also allegedly went on a vacation to Budapest that had been paid for by a contractor at the company.
The case, according to Yedioth, involves the law office of Ronel Fisher, a Tel Aviv attorney suspected of interfering with court work by bribing cops and by supplying his clients with material relating to their investigations to help them prepare for court appearances. Police suspect the deputy commissioner under investigation had taken part in Fisher’s alleged schemes in exchange for the assurances and vacations he had received. The name of the officer in question had been in the spotlight in relation to past accusations of sexual misconduct, but an indictment was never served against him.
The three Israeli newspapers also cover Channel 2’s Monday report that said Knesset newcomer Oren Hazan had hired prostitutes for his friends and used hard drugs while managing a casino in Bulgaria. According to Israeli tourists quoted by all the papers as well as by Channel 2, Hazan had been seen smoking and possibly buying crystal meth, aside from paying for women escorts for his acquaintances. Both hard-drug use and prostitution are illegal in Bulgaria. Hazan, a member of five Knesset committees and a deputy Knesset speaker, denied the allegations and said he was considering a libel suit against Channel 2.
In Israel Hayom, religious affairs reporter Yair Schlesinger brings us a story concerning an ultra-Orthodox IDF soldier who claims to have been booted out of the army after filing a complaint that he had been sexually abused by a comrade in his combat unit. The soldier said his commanders ignored the complaints and he was left emotionally broken, to the point of being dismissed from service following a psychiatric evaluation. “I wanted and still want to be a combat soldier, but someone is attempting to hide this sexual abuse story,” the soldier told the paper. “It is unacceptable that I was kicked out of the army while he stands [at the swearing-in ceremony] at the Western Wall.” An army spokesperson told Israel Hayom that the case was under investigation.
Haaretz places special emphasis on an unprecedented court ruling stating that transgendered people are not be discriminated against at the workplace. According to the ruling, the prohibition on discrimination based on sexual orientation now includes members of the transgender community. The verdict was given following a lawsuit by 31-year-old Marina Mashal, who identifies as a transgendered lesbian and who was fired from her high school teaching position after refusing to agree to work terms dictating she could not discuss her sexual orientation with students. The issue of transgender rights has received heightened attention ahead of Tel Aviv’s annual pride parade, scheduled for this Friday.
Yedioth, on its wonderfully weird back page, picks up on an important development in the world of toy manufacturing, reporting that the creators of the ever-popular Barbie doll have decided to flatten the soles of the blond character’s feet, which have for years been permanently situated in a pointy position. The decision, according to Yedioth, came in light of the fact that “girls now see flat-soled shoes all around them.” It is doubtful many people will find the new Barbie design to be a sole-crushing change.
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