The way the state attorney’s office dealt with the Rabbi Pinto affair is a disgrace

The plea bargain signed with Menasheh Arbiv, former head of police unit Lahav 433, is nothing but shame and disgrace for the Prosecution Office.

A few years ago Israel stormed with the “Rabbi Pinto Affair”. Back then, Yoshiyahu Pinto used to host in his “court” senior public servants and police officers to whom he granted various unlawful benefits. So doing, he kind of insured himself for a possible future detaining by the police: in such a case, he would have been able to provide his interrogators with a list of bribed police officers. Indeed, the time came when he got arrested, upon which he promised the police to provide significant information in return to a plea bargain that mitigated his sentence. At this stage, the Prosecution Office rushed into confirming a plea bargain that was unprecedentedly exceptional.

Resulting from the finds in Pinto’s Affair, the enforcing factors were planning to have a serious and thorough cleaning of corruption throughout the Israeli Police: a process of interrogation and inquiry aimed at various individuals, among them senior police officers. All along the procedure against Pinto, the exceptional facilitating conditions granted to him were justified by the enforcement and investigation factors with the claim of “highly valuable information” Pinto was supposed to reveal.

To the discussion about our petitioning against the Pinto plea bargain, the Prosecution Office responded by stating that a decision concerning retired Major General Menasheh Arbiv will be made “within the coming days”. Based on this response, the court recommended the Movement to withdraw the petition, which we did. However, “within the coming days” have already turned into one year, the Arbiv case closed yesterday with a light and pale indictment, and the severe accusations against him concerning bribe and breach of trust have been erased off the indictment due to the plea bargain!

What about that thorough cleaning of corruption promised by the police? In recent years the Prosecution Office has turned plea bargains into its routine conduct. Each time anew promises made to the public prove to be meaningless: Rabi Pinto has long ago returned to his home, another affair had closed in a rather feeble sound. The only ones left with yet more question marks are the citizens of the State of Israel.