Weinstein Go Home

The Lieberman corruption case was the attorney general's big test - and he failed.

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There's no point arguing with the three judges who acquitted Avigdor Lieberman about whether or not their ruling was just. They received a severely reduced case file that hid the fat one from the very start. Not only were the charges marginal to the main suspicions, but the prosecution's performance in court was feeble and lacking in confidence. No wonder the judges paid less attention to the solidity of the evidence and more to the arguments of the defense.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein should be the target for criticism. The Lieberman case was his big test, and he failed.

Never, it seems, has an attorney general received such a well-prepared case, of such supreme importance, one that could set new public norms and serve as a clear warning to every public figure. But it appears that prosecutors, unnerved by the mountain of documents and other evidence, decided to turn it into a molehill rather than exploring and conquering it.

Now Lieberman returns to the Foreign Ministry, borne on the palanquin of his acquittal. Thus shall it be done to the man who strikes fear in the hearts of everyone near, and who the prime minister dares not fire from an unsuitable post.

Now, more than ever, when the negotiations with the Palestinians are falling apart and Israel is in growing danger of isolation, it's time to choose a more qualified foreign minister, one who will do less harm.

Opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich was right on Wednesday in refusing to join the chorus of backslappers and self-congratulators. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, by the way, joined the chorus and "welcomed Lieberman's acquittal."

The big questions are still open. Is the picture more clear after the verdict? Is the public truly sighing in relief at the lifting of a burden from its heart? Do we know more now about the convoluted shell companies, the hidden accounts, the mysterious consulting fees and what befell the witnesses – who died, committed suicide or lost their memory?

Only one thing is clear – Lieberman is returning to the country's leadership big-time. The man who laughed all the way home from the foreign banks abroad, is now laughing all the way back to the government compound.

If that is the outcome of long, futile years of investigatory efforts and obstruction, then the attorney general has no choice but to resign.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

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