Jilted Ayalon testifies against Lieberman


Two high-profile court cases this week saw dramatic testimonies.

In the trial of ex-foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is accused of pushing through a fraudulent appointment, his former deputy, Danny Ayalon, was a damning witness.

Mr Ayalon, who was thrown off the Yisrael Beiteinu Knesset list on the eve of the last elections, told the court that Mr Lieberman had instructed him to appoint Zeev Ben Arye as envoy to Latvia.

“My acquaintance with Ben Arye was very superficial,” said Mr Ayalon of the diplomat who had illegally leaked Mr Lieberman confidential details of the police investigation into the then-foreign minister.

Mr Lieberman denies he was involved in the appointment. If he is found guilty of breach of trust, he could be forced to leave politics for seven years.

Meanwhile, in the Tel Aviv District Court, Yossi Olmert appeared as a witness for the prosecution in the trial of his older brother, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Mr Olmert testified by video link from the US. The prominent academic fled Israel in 2004 after accumulating huge debts in two unsuccessful political campaigns. The prosecution claims that he received millions of shekels in bribes from the recently deceased businessman Shmuel Dachner, a proportion of which was destined for his brother Ehud.

When questioned by police, Dr Olmert admitted to having accepted money from Dachner. In court this week, however, he claimed to not remember the source of money.

Now that one of its key witnesses has blown a hole in its case and with the death of its star witness, the prosecution must now decide whether it is worth proceeding with the case.

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