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      Court Forces MK HaNegbi to Resign over 'Moral Turpitude'

      The former Justice Minister and longtime chairman of Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee will have to step down immediately.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 11/9/2010, 11:17 AM / Last Update: 11/9/2010, 11:14 AM

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      The Jerusalem Magistrates' Court decided Tuesday that in perjuring himself before the court, MK Tzachi HaNegbi (Kadima) committed an act that constitutes “moral turpitude.”

       
      The political meaning of the decision is that HaNegbi will have to resign from the Knesset immediately. He will, however, be able to run for Knesset again in the next elections.
       
      The court also fined HaNegbi 10,000 shekels. It did not sentence him to a suspended jail sentence, as the State Prosecution had asked it to.
       
      HaNegbi was charged with corruptly assisting in the appointment of more than 50 Likud Central Committee members and their relatives to various positions in the Ministry of Environmental Protection during the two years in which he was the minister in charge of that office. He was acquitted of these charges but found guilty of perjury committed during the trial. 
       
      HaNegbi is former Minister of Justice and currently serves as chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, a position he has held since 2006.
       
      Two of the three judges in the court panel supported the verdict, while one dissenter found that HaNegbi had not committed an act of moral turpitude. 
       
      MK HaNegbi said after the verdict: “This is a difficult and painful morning. I have managed to make it through eight years of legal battles in the faith that the final result will be a balanced and positive one.”
       
      HaNegbi said he would respect the court's decision and would go to the Knesset Speaker's office and tender his resignation.