Justice Minister: 'Entire Legal System' Fighting to Block Ramon Wiretap Probe

Friedmann: 'The situation is intolerable'; blames officials of his own ministry, Dichter for trying to bar probe.

Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann charged Tuesday that the entire Israeli legal system - including members of his own ministry and that of Public Security Minister Avi Dichter - was waging an "uncompromising struggle" to block an investigation into wiretapping in connection with cabinet minister Haim Ramon's sexual misconduct case.

Friedmann, speaking to the Knesset investigative panel on wiretapping, voiced support for the establishment of a state commission of inquiry into wiretaps used in the Ramon case.

Ramon was found guilty in early 2007 of having committed an indecent act, in forcibly kissing a woman soldier.

During the trial, Ramon's attorneys complained that police had kept the fact of the wiretapping of the minister hidden from them, and that this had worked to the detriment of Ramon's defense in the case.

They also questioned the basis for the order that allowed the tapping operation.

Friedman said that it was very difficult to reconcile "with the uncompromising struggle of the entire legal system against the investigation."

Friedmann said that "within the ministry, there is particularly fierce opposition. It's forbidden to touch [the issue], forbidden to investigate."

He added that when he spoke to Dichter, the public security minister told me that he was "unwilling under any circumstances" to support a state commission of inquiry. "Such fierce opposition," Friedmann told the Knesset panel. "Just don't investigate, just don't examine."

"I asked if someone should be put on disciplinary trial," Friedmann continued. "The answer: 'Certainly not.' They don't want to do anything. They don't do anything. Just system-level conclusions. The situation is intolerable."

Friedman asked the Knesset panel for help in investigating the matter. "I am more and more convinced that there is no alternative but to establish a state commission of inquiry," he said. "Otherwise the matter will just melt away somehow."