Fearing arrest, former minister’s son could skip his funeral
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Fearing arrest, former minister’s son could skip his funeral

Police allow Ofir Ben-Eliezer — suspected in connection with graft case against his father — to fly in for burial and week of mourning, but would likely scoop him up after

Former presidential candidate MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer casts his vote in the Knesset during presidential elections, June 10, 2014 (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)
Former presidential candidate MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer casts his vote in the Knesset during presidential elections, June 10, 2014 (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

A son of deceased former defense minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer could face arrest if he returns to the country for his father’s funeral.

Ofir Ben Eliezer is the subject of an arrest warrant issued in connection with the corruption charges filed against his father, who died Sunday.

Police said Monday they would not arrest Ben-Eliezer if he arrives in the country to attend the burial and would also stay away during the traditional week-long mourning period. However, police would not say what action would be taken after the mourning ends, and analysts speculated that they would likely question and then arrest him.

Hebrew media reports said that Ben-Eliezer, who lives abroad, was likely to skip the Tuesday funeral to avoid being detained and interrogated by police.

Ben-Eliezer was questioned by the FBI following a letter of rogatory from Israel. Based on that probe, Israeli police summoned him for questioning, which he failed to appear for, leading to the issue of an arrest warrant.

Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, known affectionately in Israel by his nickname Fuad, ran for president in 2014 and was considered a strong candidate for the largely ceremonial post — usually reserved for well-liked politicians at the twilight of their careers — before being forced to drop out when graft allegations arose.

Criminal proceedings against Ben-Eliezer began in January 2015, when the attorney general at the time, Yehuda Weinstein, accepted a police recommendation to indict the politician and 10 of his associates.

Ben-Eliezer was indicted in December by state prosecutors for allegedly demanding and receiving more than NIS 2 million (over $500,000) from business people in exchange for actions he allegedly took as a public servant.

In May, state prosecutors offered Ben-Eliezer a plea bargain aimed at punishing the octogenarian without forcing him to serve time in prison. He was offered the option of paying an NIS 11 million ($2.86 million) fine in exchange for no prison time.

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