Israel Bar Association chair indicted for allegedly smuggling woman into country

Effi Naveh charged with illegal exit and entry, receiving bribes, after he was stopped at airport with female acquaintance he is accused of helping slip through border control

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Attorney Efi Nave, chairman of the Israel Bar Association, seen here when he was the IBA Tel Aviv district chief, April 24, 2013. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Attorney Efi Nave, chairman of the Israel Bar Association, seen here when he was the IBA Tel Aviv district chief, April 24, 2013. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

The head of Israel’s Bar Association was indicted Tuesday on suspicion that he smuggled a female acquaintance out the country for a trip abroad and then tried to slip her back unregistered through border control.

Attorney Effi Naveh, who is also a member of the panel that selects the country’s judges, was indicted on charges of jointly gaining illegal exit and entry to the country as well as jointly taking a bribe. The woman, who has not been identified, was also charged in the indictments, filed at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court.

According to court papers, Naveh, who is separated from his wife and going through divorce proceedings, hoped to hide the fact that he was traveling abroad with the woman by helping her to skip passport control at Ben Gurion International Airport.

The incident occurred in October and the pair were only stopped when they returned from the trip, which according to Channel 10 news was to Thailand.

Illustrative: People standing in line at passport control at Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Prosecutors claim that on their way out of the country, Naveh used his biometric passport to go through border control by using a self-service station that then issued a gate pass to go through the actual barrier. He handed the pass to the woman who had waited for him without having her passport processed, and she used the pass to open the automatic border control gate, while Naveh slipped through the barrier by walking closely behind another passenger.

The pair then tried to repeat the procedure when they returned to the country, with Naveh’s companion opening the border gate with a pass issued on his passport, while he followed behind her, the indictment said. However, sharp-eyed border officers spotted their activity and apprehended the pair. Naveh initially claimed he had no idea what was going on and that he didn’t even know the woman.

Channel 10 reported that during subsequent police interrogations he admitted to setting up the ploy because he believed his wife was having him followed by private investigators.

Hadashot TV news reported that as result of the incident with Naveh, the Population Immigration and Border Authority revamped the border control system at the airport at a cost of some NIS 1 million ($270,000). The new system, which will incorporate a double set of gates for travelers to pass through, will be installed in a few months, the report said.

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