Finance Minister:
'Serious damage to public trust in the judicial system'

Minister Kahlon demands examination of past cases of connections between judges and investigators appearing before them.

Mordechai Sones ,

Minister Kahlon
Minister Kahlon
Hezki Baruch

Finance Minister and Kulanu Chairman Moshe Kahlon today spoke at a Kulanu faction meeting about exposure of WhatsApp correspondence between the Israel Securities Authority representative and the detention judge in Case 4000 - the Bezeq case - attesting to coordination between them before the detention extension hearings.

"What was revealed yesterday is very serious, a serious blow to the system of rule of law and public trust," he said, adding that "We must remember these are two people who deal with matters of life and death and affect not only the lives of the suspects, but also their families and society in general."

He noted that "the deed that was exposed is a severe blow to public trust and without public trust, there's no value to the courts and the rule of law. We all feed on public trust. If the public stops believing in us and in the legal system, this is the greatest damage that could be caused. The freedom of every citizen is a basic right, and denying his freedom must be done with utmost gravity. The procedure must be clean and pure."

Kahlon asked judicial system heads to conduct a comprehensive house check. "In light of the serious revelations, I expect the Supreme Court Chief Justice and the Justice Minister to examine whether there have been such cases in the past and to do everything possible to ensure they don't happen again in the future."

On Sunday, Channel 10 revealed a series of instant messages on the WhatsApp chat program between Judge Ronit Poznansky-Katz, and Eran Shaham-Shavit, an investigator from the Israel Securities Authority.

The two discussed the upcoming hearing for suspects arrested as part of the Case 4000 investigation, which centers on suspicions that a Netanyahu aide provided chief Bezeq shareholder Shaul Elovitch with regulatory benefits in exchange for sympathetic coverage to the Prime Minister and his wife on the Walla! news website, which is owned by Elovitch as well.

In the messages, the Israel Securities Authority official informed Poznansky-Katz of his agency’s intention to request that several suspects’ arrests be extended, telling the judge to “act surprised” when he makes the request in court.

A recent survey revealed that 57% of the public does not trust the Israeli legal system.