'Where are the champions of freedom of expression?'

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir attacks decision to indict Yoram Sheftel: 'A black day for lawyers.'

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Mordechai Sones,

Sheftel and Ben Gvir
Sheftel and Ben Gvir
Flash 90

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir slammed the decision to subject his colleague Yoram Sheftel to disciplinary proceedings before the Israel Bar Association Ethics Committee, after Sheftel called Chief of Staff Eizenkot a "miserable, fat little clerk working in the municipal sewage department."

According to attorney Ben-Gvir, "This is a black day for lawyers. Yes, Sheftel retracted the 'miserable' remark, but in any case when examining the statements from a legal standpoint, one discovers that these statements lie at the heart of freedom of expression in the State of Israel - even if they are outrageous and upsetting, it's clear that freedom of expression applies to uttering them. It's strange that what's permitted to everyone is forbidden to Attorney Sheftel."

Ben-Gvir railed against the thunderous silence of leftists and champions of freedom of expression: "Where are the heroes of democracy? Where are those who would give their lives to allow terrorists to speak, those who defend the 'right' to call Israel a Nazi state, and the IDF a Nazi army? Suddenly everyone is struck dumb."

Attorney Ben Gvir is not worried about the results of the legal proceedings against Sheftel. "Israeli law schools still study the precedent laid down when the Supreme Court acquitted Sheftel of disciplinary action for protesting against left-wing activists and shouting at them. I assume that this time the result will be similar. But the very fact of deciding to have a disciplinary procedure is problematic because it creates both a slippery slope and another problem of discrimination. Eldad Yaniv (attorney organizing weekly Saturday night protests against the Attorney General and Netanyahu who has admitted he intends to run for a Knesset seat, ed.) is also a lawyer, and he speaks much more critically of the Prime Minister.

"I'm in favor of allowing Eldad Yaniv to speak, but why is what is permitted to Eldad Yaniv forbidden to Sheftel?" Ben-Gvir asks. "It's unclear to me why [Yesh Atid MK] Elazar Stern knows the outcome of the procedure before Yoram. It's inappropriate and incorrect to behave in this way, and in my opinion it shows us something about the entire conduct of the affair."

Ben-Gvir hopes the Bar Association will come to its senses. "An attorney is also permitted to express opinions. This is his right and the Sheftel disciplinary proceeding is liable to cause lawyers to be afraid to talk."








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