Ex-Israel Bar Chief, Embroiled in Bribery Claims, Faces New Corruption Allegations

Efraim Nave, accused of taking sexual favors as bribes, allegedly helped secure position for judge in exchange for advancing his interests

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Former Israel Bar Association President Effi Nave at the Magistrate’s court of Tel Aviv, January 2019.
Former Israel Bar Association President Effi Nave at the Magistrate’s court of Tel Aviv, January 2019.Credit: ראובן קסטרו

Former Israel Bar Association chairman Efraim Nave apparently helped a judge secure a prestigious post in exchange for looking after Nave’s interests, Haaretz has learned.

This matter was not investigated by police as part of the corruption probe against Nave, in which the state prosecutor has decided to indict him, subject to a hearing, for taking bribes in the form of sexual favors from Judge Eti Craif.

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According to the information obtained by Haaretz, in 2016 Nave acted to advance a senior judge, with whom he had close ties, to a post being sought by several judges. Nave agreed to advance the judge’s candidacy in exchange for the latter’s commitment regarding a legal matter of interest to Nave. The judge did not deny this.

However, while police say that in the Craif matter, Nave used his influence over two members of the Judicial Appointments Committee who were also members of the Bar Association, in the case now coming to light regarding a different judge, Nave sought to advance this judge’s interests before an internal Courts Administration committee, where he has no such influence.

The information shows that Nave appeared before the internal committee, consisting of senior judges, and expressed his support for promoting the judge in question over the other candidates. He also acted to block the candidacy of at least one other judge. The judge whom Nave recommended was ultimately appointed for the post and currently holds it.

A former judicial official said this appears to be an improper relationship that should be examined. But although the police and State Prosecutor’s Office have the information, they decided not to investigate the matter – in part because of the way the evidence apparently had been obtained.

The Courts Administration said in response for the judge in question: “The details are incorrect and the police’s decision not to open the investigation into this matter speaks for itself. Since there is a publication ban on the investigation materials, it is not possible to say more at this time.”

Nave’s lawyer Boaz Ben Zur refused to comment.

About a year ago the police anti-corruption unit Lahav 433 opened an investigation following information found in Nave’s mobile phone. The prosecution decided to focus only on two affairs that raised suspicions of Nave’s taking sexual bribes in exchange for using his influence in the appointment of judges.

The main case centered on the suspicion that Nave had used his position as head of the Bar Association to promote the appointment of Craif, then a police prosecutor, as a Magistrate’s Court judge in exchange for sexual relations. The two are now waiting for a hearing following the prosecution’s decision to indict Nave for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, and Craif for giving bribes and destroying evidence.

Nave is charged with acute conflict of interests due to his alleged intimate relations with Craif. These relations became more intense during her appointment procedure, but Nave did not tell any of the officials with whom he worked to advance her appointment about it. At the time Nave had Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s support and wielded considerable influence in the committee, which allegedly led to Craif’s being appointed by a large majority. The only one to object was retired Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein.

Nave was questioned under caution also in the case of a lawyer with whom he had a relationship. He was suspected of trying to fulfill her request to appoint her husband a district court judge, and of seeing to it that she was promoted to various posts in the Bar Association. He was not indicted for this.

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