'Right wing journalists inventing stories about me'

Top journalist hits back amid reports that she broke bombshell sex scandal by hacking into senior lawyer's cell phone.

Tzvi Lev ,

Hadas Shtaif
Hadas Shtaif
Yossi Zamir/Flash 90

A senior journalist blamed "right-wing journalists" amid mounting criticism over the way she broke a bombshell sex scandal that has rattled Israel's legal community.

According to Haaretz, Army Radio journalist Hadas Shtaif had exposed former Israel Bar Association head Effie Naveh's alleged scheme to promote judges in exchange for sexual favors by hacking into his cell phone. Shtaif has been hit with mounting criticism for the invasion of Naveh's privacy and the immunity she is said to have received from the State Attorney's Office for her actions.

Yet on Saturday, Shtaif tweeted that "right-wing journalists" were publishing "false stories" about her in an attempt to besmirch her.

"Unfortunately, various sources continue to publish false stories about me.[All] Invented. All by the right-wing journalists. This is slander in the full sense of the word, "tweeted Shtaif.

"Even though the journalists received responses from Army Radio, everything was published," continued Shtaif, adding that "no one will intimidate me".

Naveh was arrested earlier this month amid suspicions that he pushed for the promotion of judges in exchange for sexual favors. Naveh is facing charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. He was released on bail on Wednesday evening under restrictive conditions.

As a member of the Judicial Appointments Committee, Naveh had significant sway in the appointment process for judges.

The nine-member Judicial Appointments Committee, headed by the Justice Minister, is responsible for all judicial appointments in Israel. Aside from the Justice Minister, the committee is composed of an additional cabinet minister, two MKs, including one from the opposition, two Bar Association representatives, and three Supreme Court justices, including the Chief Justice.

The story was exposed by Shtaif, who reportedly broke into Naveh's cell phone with the help of a computer expert. Out of fear that her actions would constitute a criminal offense, she came to an agreement with the State Prosecutor's Office to transfer the device to the State Attorney's Office in return for immunity from prosecution.

Last week, Naveh filed a police complaint over the theft and hacking of his cell phone. A day later, he sent a letter threatening to sue Shtaif if she did not apologize and pay NIS 5 million in compensation.