Police: ILA Employee 'Did Favors' for Developer

Police raided the offices of the Israel Lands Administration and arrested a senior employee on charges of influence peddling.

Yaakov Levi,

Construction in Jerusalem (illustrative)
Construction in Jerusalem (illustrative)
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Police on Thursday raided the offices of the Israel Lands Administration and arrested a senior employee on charges of influence peddling.

According to police, the employee is accused of using his/her position to push through land deals that favored specific real estate developers, possibly for material benefit.

The government-run Israel Lands Administration is essentially the “landlord” for most of the land in Israel, in charge of 93% of the country's land.

Under the ILA system, few people in Israel actually own land; the “lease” it from the ILA, generally for a period of 49 years; they do, however, own the structure on that land.

The ILA also controls which parcels will be allocated to development, and has been accused of being too slow to allow development of new housing - one factor that many economists say is the cause of high housing prices in Israel.

The detained employee is a senior ILA official who is said to have had a great deal of influence on development plans, especially in popular areas of the center of the country, police said.

The employee had a close connection with one construction firm, police discovered in recent weeks, and launched an investigation, which led to the employee.

The ILA offices were raided early Thursday, with police seizing documents and computers.

The employee, police added, got wind of the police investigation, and destroyed documents essential to the investigation. The employee is being held on a variety of charges, including obstruction of justice, influence-peddling, bribery, and public corruption.




top