What Hirchson Must Do

The letter of the law states that a minister must resign only after having been convicted in court. The Supreme Court set the date earlier: when the attorney-general files charges.

Yet reality has set another, stricter norm: quitting when the police begin to investigate. And the ones who set that norm are two former justice ministers, Yaakov Ne'eman and Haim Ramon. Neeman was vindicated and Ramon found guilty (of sexual misconduct), though his conviction may be annulled.

The situation of Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson is not good. The papers and electronic media run one hair-raising story after another about the minister lining his pockets. He cannot go on this way.

The attorney general, Meni Mazuz, is supposed to consider whether or not to order Hirchson to vacate his seat only after the next round of investigation. But Mazuz has been closely following the police investigation and probably wouldn't have allowed the police to summon Hirchson for a grilling if the suspicions were baseless.

Under the circumstances, Hirchson cannot continue to run the Finance Ministry. How can he focus on reforms or battle the Histadrut labor confederation, when everybody knows he's a lamed duck?

Mind you, if Hirchson quits, it proves nothing. Do not get suspicions mixed up with facts. Don't take headlines as proof of anything. A person is innocent until proven guilty, beyond reasonable doubt, in court.