Nazareth Illit mayor cleared of all charges

Haifa Court finds nationalist mayor Shimon Gapso innocent of bribery charges. He is expected to go back to his job.

Shlomo Pitrikovsky,

Shimon Gapso
Shimon Gapso
PR photo

The Haifa District Court cleared Nazareth Illit (Upper Nazareth) Mayor Shimon Gapso of all charges in a case involving allegations of bribery and breach of trust.

Gapso, who took leave from his job while the trial was ongoing, is expected to return to it.

He was accused of promising municipal jobs to activists in his 2008 campaign for mayor. He allegedly promised one person a salary of over NIS 6,000, and promised another person a senior position in the municipality.

True to his word, he allegedly tried to get the two people jobs after his victory. One of them got a municipality job but was fired afterward, and the other did not get a job.

Gapso was convicted in a previous case of a bribery offense, but since the court ruled that it did not involve moral turpitude, he was able to go back to work as mayor. The second case forced him to go on leave and he will now apparently return to the mayoral office.

He had been reelected in 2013 despite having been forced out of office over the allegations of corruption.

He declared that he plans to continue to openly campaign to keep Nazareth Illit a majority-Jewish city. “I’m going to keep working to ‘Judaize’ the city. I never stopped,” he said at the time.

Gapso has faced accusations of "racism" over his battle to keep the city Jewish despite a growing population influx from the nearby Arab city of Nazareth. In January, he issued a definitive refusal to allow a Muslim school to be established in his city.

He had called on the government to declare Nazareth a “hostile element” and stop giving it state funds, due to a rally in the city – allegedly led by the mayor – in support of Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

The outspoken mayor flies the world’s largest Israeli flag over his home.




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