Company Profiting from Expulsion Pays Bassi Big Bonus

While Disengagement Authority head Yonatan Bassi expels Jews, his company, Mehadrin, is profiting by selling land to the state in order to resettle them. Mehadrin has now paid Bassi a cash bonus.

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Scott Shiloh and Israel National News Staff, | updated: 10:04

Yonatan Bassi was appointed head of the Disengagement Authority (Minhelet Sela) by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on condition that he avoids conflicts of interests between his job, expelling and resettling Jews, and the corporation he manages, Mehadrin.

Mehadrin owns the land near Nitzanim, however, the location where many Jewish refugees from Gaza are to be resettled. The Israeli government has paid Mehadrin $20 million in order to acquire its rights in the property.

Mehadrin’s recent payment of a 150,000 shekel cash bonus to Bassi has raised questions of unethical conduct on the part of Bassi, who appears to be profiting unethically from his position as head of the Expulsion Administration.

The money was transferred to Bassi’s personal account five months ago, according to Israeli newspaper, Yediot Aharonot.

When Bassi took the post as head of the Expulsion Administration he was required to sign a document stating that he would not be involved in activities connected to the Mehadrin firm that would pose a conflict of interest with his position. That document was approved by the attorney general and the state comptroller.

Mehadrin’s profits from the disengagement plan, however, have not been limited to its sale of land to the state for the resettlement of Jews. The government has promised to compensate Mehadrin for debts owed to it by communities located in the Bessor district which borders on Gaza.

Many Gaza refugees are being resettled in Bessor communities, and the government has extended special financial assistance to the towns in order to encourage them to take in the refugees. Mehadrin is expected to receive 15 million shekels from the government in exchange for canceling the communities’ debts.

There are also unconfirmed reports that Mehadrin is planning on filling the vacuum in the bug-free vegetables market left by the destruction of Gush Katif's vast agricultural industries.

Grassroots groups are calling for a boycott of such vegetables should they hit the shelves. Gush Katif residents plan to continue to produce bug-free produce once they rebuild their hothouses and infrastructure elsewhere.