Lopiansky Verdict

I was sorry to hear, in recent days, of Uri Lopiansky’s sentencing to six years jail time, as well as a 500,000 shekel fine. Again I see in the Israeli Justice System, good intentions, but, it seems to me, unsophisticated and flippant attempts at Justice. The previous example I am thinking of is former President Moshe Katzav. He was also sentenced to several years in prison, convicted of sexual assault. I did not read theĀ protocols of the case, but I understand that the conviction was based on the judges believing the accuser’s testimony over his. That is not much evidence to convince someone on! Why is she more believable than him? Again, what happened I do not know. But I do not see how the judges knew either.

Here again, in the case of former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupiansky, I am sensing a “rebound effect” taking place. What do I mean by “rebound effect”? I mean that after many decades of political corruption, the system is beginning to flex its judicial muscles, thankfully, and is trying to uncover and punish corruption. But in their eagerness to do this, they are highly watering down the evidence rules they use to convict.

Regarding Mr. Olmert, the evidence was clearer. Besides which, he had a trail of corruption cases spanning many years. The truth is that is was a tragic commentary on the Israeli electorate that Olmert was allowed to continue in politics for so long. He was sentenced to six years.

But with Lopiansky, what is the evidence? The conviction was related to the Holyland Project, as Olmert’s was. At the time, Olmert was Mayor, and Lupiansky was a Deputy Mayor. The Holyland developers gave a donation to Yad Sarah, a hesed organization Lopiansky’s family started. It was a donation of a million and a half shekels. It was not a secret donation, it was public and given a receipt. The prosecution says this shows Lupiansky was “given” a “bribe” to get him to approve the project. Lupiansky says he did not see the donation as a bribe. He also said the decision rested with the mayor, not him. This seems to me a valid defense. Yad Sarah is an important Jerusalem and Israeli wide institution. It’s idea has been duplicated in many other countries. Many people donate to it. Should Lupiansky have told Yad Sarah not to accept the donation? If it was not his decision, how could they bribe him?

Unless the prosecution has evidence that proves Lupiansky told Holyland to donate to Yad Sarah to obtain his approval, they have nothing on him. That he should receive six years jail time, the same as Olmert, is ludicrous. It is a travesty. I do not put it past the judges to have been trigger-happy in order to “nail” an observant-charedi mayor too. I want to work for Lupiansky’s rescue from this judicial obscenity.

Do you have any ideas for me as to what I might try?

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