Court Convicts Israeli Judge of Ethics Violation in Corruption Probe Involving Netanyahu

Justice Ronit Poznanski-Katz was convicted of corresponding with a prosecutor during hearings in the Bezeq bribery Case 4000

Revital Hovel
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Justice Ronit Poznanski-Katz leaving a Supreme Court hearing last month.
Justice Ronit Poznanski-Katz leaving a Supreme Court hearing last month. Credit: אמיל סלמן
Revital Hovel

A disciplinary court on Sunday convicted Justice Ronit Poznanski-Katz of ethical violations for corresponding with a prosecutor during hearings in Case 4000 involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – the Bezeq bribery case.

The tribunal will hand down its sentence at a later date. The sanctions available are a comment inserted in the judge’s file; a warning; a reprimand; being moved to another court or dismissal.

Poznanski-Katz was convicted on her own admission on the charge of behavior unworthy of an Israeli judge and other ethical violations. Heading the panel that heard the case was former Supreme Court President Asher Grunis, who was joined by Supreme Court Justice Neal Hendel and Nazareth District Court President Ester Hellman-Nussboim.

The courts spokesman said, “According to the facts to which the judge admitted, she and a representative of the prosecution in a proceeding she presided over conducted various correspondences about the proceeding, correspondence that should not have taken place between a prosecutor and a judge presiding over the case.”

The hearing before the disciplinary court came in response to a complaint filed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, following publication of the correspondence between the judge and the Securities Authority investigator, Eran Shaham-Shavit.

In the first exchange with Poznanski-Katz that was revealed, he wrote, “At least the good news is that Or [Elovitch, son of Bezeq controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch] and Amikam [Shorer, a senior Bezeq executive] will be released tomorrow with conditions. Act surprised.” The judge responded, “I am starting to work on an appropriate expression of complete surprise.”

Shaham-Shavit then wrote to her, “Stella [Hendler, Bezeq’s CEO] and Iris [Elovitch, Shaul’s wife] – we will ask for a few days [of further detention] tomorrow. They’ll ask for three, but you can certainly, and I mean certainly give two.” The judge responded, “You continue to reveal everything to me and I will have to look really, really surprised.”