Eli Zohar, an attorney who represented former prime ministers and defense officials and played a role in cases that made Israeli history, died Wednesday at 79.
His clients included former prime ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, and Tommy Lapid, who was justice minister in 2003 and 2004. He also represented police commissioner Moshe Karadi; Omri Sharon, the son of late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon; and Carmi Gilon, the head of the Shin Bet security service in the mid-’90s.
Zohar handled both criminal and civil cases, and was considered an expert in tort law, medical malpractice and commercial law.
He was born in Tel Aviv in 1940. His father, attorney Shamai Zohar, was a founder of the Israel Police. The younger Zohar studied law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and in 1967 joined a law firm launched in 1930 by Max Seligman; Zohar eventually became chairman of Goldfarb, Seligman & Co. In 2003 he was considered for the post of attorney general but withdrew his candidacy.
He also represented Amos Baranes, who was convicted of murdering soldier Rachel Heller but was acquitted in a retrial, and businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum, who was abducted by Hezbollah in Dubai.
Zohar also represented government authorities like the Port Authority, the Government Companies Authority, the Council for Higher Education and Israel Military Industries. Additionally, he served as chairman of the Film Council and Gesher Theater.
He is survived by his wife, Nili, and four children, one of them television news host Guy Zohar, his son by his first wife.