Building the Holyland towers
Building the Holyland towersIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Legal expert Professor Michael Corinaldi and the government watchdog group Ometz have called to halt the Holyland construction project in Jerusalem. While much of the project has been completed, four 32-story towers have not yet been built.

In a lecture at the Netanya Academic College, Corinaldi said construction should be stopped due to allegations of corruption and bribery. Investors in Holyland allegedly bribed former Jerusalem Mayor and former Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert and other senior municipal officials. Some of the latter are jailed or under house arrest.

In return, the municipality allegedly granted special permits for the project. For example, the high rise project, atop a hill overlooking southern Jerusalem, was initially to include 180 apartments, but is now set to include approximately 1,000 apartments.

Ometz has turned to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, State Prosecutor Moshe Lador, Internal Affairs Minister Eli Yishai, and State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss with a request to freeze building.

Police recently discovered that original documents giving municipal approval to the Holyland project are missing. The disappearance of the files, which allegedly prove that the city architect disapproved of the project, and signed it with the additional words "under duress" may indicate that senior municipal officials were tipped off to the undercover police investigation that began in 2008.