In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
=== News Update ===
The Sharon’s Corruption File
The Institute for the Study of Corruption in Israel P.O. Box 37036
The material you will read in this pamphlet is based on openly published reports. Sometimes the reports were comprehensive and at other times they were limited, sometimes direct and sometimes incidental, but it was all available and accessible to citizens of the state of Israel. The only thing that had to be done was to gather and collate material and put all the details and events together in order to get the frightening overall picture of the man who heads the state of Israel. However, the gist of the material you will read here depicts the Sharon family, led by its patriarch, as a family of criminals engaged in gaining financial profit and taking over governmental positions of power. In the Sharon family, it is a matter of involvement of suspected criminals in all of the existential affairs of the state, the appointment of every key figure in public administration and the control of the billions of shekels in the state coffers. Appointments are made on the basis of loyalty. The head of the Shin Bet General Security Service, the Mossad chief, the police inspector general, the chief of staff – dismissals or appointments to all these key positions were made as punishment or in reward for loyalty.
Sharon and his son managed to instill into public life a rule of paralyzing fear. In May 2003, following the State Comptroller’s report on Sharon’s involvement in changing decision 755, Member of Knesset Ophir Pines said: “If Sharon were an ordinary citizen, within three days there would have been an indictment drawn up against him.” Member of Knesset Mickey Eitan, the chairman of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee said in January 2004: “The actions of Sharon, his sons and his former bureau chief, Uri Shani, have brought the country to an intolerable situation…”
Sharon’s home, Sycamore Ranch, sits on the road between Sderot and the Beit Kama junction. Sharon, who left the army with the rank of major general after not being appointed chief of staff, enjoys a respectable pension, but not one that would enable him to buy a ranch with thousands of dunams (according to reports: between 3,500 and 5,000 dunams). In 1972, upon his discharge from the army Sycamore Ranch was bought for two million liras. Two American millionaires provided Sharon with the means to purchase the ranch: Sam Wachs and Meshulam Riklis. Riklis also helped fund Sharon’s libel suit against Time Magazine. Riklis’ explanation for his generosity: “I like Arik.” And Arik? He, of course, did not object to or turn down the gratis gifts, rather on the contrary.
In 1994, it was uncovered that Thai workers were employed on the ranch without the necessary permits and by bypassing the usual procedures. The embarrassing affair ended after the Ministry of Labor’s legal adviser was forced to halt his inquiry due to the disappearance of the evidence file. Now it turns out that when it comes to this gigantic ranch as well, the Sharon family is insatiable. A team of surveyors from the Israel Lands Administration (ILA) is reviewing how hundreds of dunams were annexed to the ranch without obtaining the necessary permits required by the state authorities. The lease agreement for the ranch expired over three years ago, but ILA officials held up the renewal of the contract because of the surprising expansion of the ranch’s area.
The Kfar Mallal Land Scandal
Arik Sharon himself has rights to lands in Kfar Mallal. At the ILA, he is registered as the owner of 4-5 dunams. In 1996, the ILA council approved a decision formalizing the matter of leasing agricultural lands to farmers in order to build commercial enterprises. It was determined that renting the assets out for industrial and commercial purposes would not be permitted. Sharon intervened to change resolution 755 of the ILA, even though his intervention, in the words of the State Comptroller: “had the potential to obtain perks and benefits for the prime minister’s family.” The comptroller noted that despite warning Sharon repeatedly about the problematic nature of his involvement in formalizing land leasing due to his family’s holdings in Kfar Mallal, Sharon worked to change the ILA resolution. The comptroller noted that Sharon publicly stated that he could not take part in the discussions due to a conflict of interests, but in fact behind the scenes created a juggernaut to compel the ILA to adopt his position. MK Ophir Pines, currently the interior minister, said in the wake of the comptroller’s report that “If Sharon were an ordinary citizen, within three days there would have been an indictment drawn up against him.”
The Malmud Scandal
The Malmud family is one of the most powerful and veteran families of Kfar Mallal. In the Sheinerman (Sharon) family’s conflicted history with the residents of the Kfar, the Malmud family was on the good side. During the work to pave the Trans-Israel Highway, lands were appropriated from the Malmud family in order to build an access road and railroad tracks. For ten years they waged a fight against the Public Works Council. Appeals to committees and legal proceedings were of no avail. What can they do? Approach Arik Sharon. Initially the Public Works Council proposed monetary compensation in the amount of $610,000; following Sharon’s intervention the sum increased to $700,000.
The Greek Island Scandal
The Greek Island Scandal provides some clear insights on what moves the Sharon family: lots of money, the use of power and connections, the father covering for the sons and vice versa, and finally reserving the right to remain silent. Dudi Appel is a Likud activist who became a multimillionaire. In the Greek Island Scandal, Appel sought to buy an island in Greece, not far from Athens, and build a giant tourist resort complex there. When the negotiations over the purchase of the Greek island hit a snag, Appel arranged a visit to Israel for a Greek delegation. Sharon, then the foreign minister, was invited to and attended a dinner in honor of the Greek undersecretary for foreign affairs in the home of Dudi Appel, which his son, Gilad also attended. What did Sharon receive in return for his assistance in promoting Appel’s interests? For Sharon the somewhat open benefit was the assistance he received in the Likud primaries, but there was also another perk, amazing in its scale: the hiring of Gilad Sharon as a marketing consultant with a contract for millions of dollars. What was his salary? $20,000 per month + VAT for consulting work. In addition, the ranch (that is how Gilad is defined in the contract) will be paid around $1.5 million upon receipt of the first permit and another $1.5 million when the first project commences operations. The total sum paid amounted to: $3 million! In March 2001, the month when Sharon was sworn in as prime minister, Appel transferred around NIS 1.15 million to Gilad Sharon.
What kind of experience did Gilad have? Gilad at the time was a 30-year-old young man, with a master’s degree in agriculture and no experience in his field. In June 2004, after State Prosecutor Edna Arbel had already prepared a draft of an indictment against Sharon and his sons, the new attorney general, Menachem Mazuz closed the Sharon case. As far as he was concerned, Gilad had received an appropriate salary and his dad was unaware that it was an attempt at bribery on the part of Appel.
The Ginaton Lands Scandal
The Ginaton Scandal, involving lands near the city of Lod, is another link in the Sharon-Appel relationship. This is a large agricultural plot purchased by Appel who hoped that with a little help from his friends, it would become land designated for building and its value would increase by hundreds of percent. To put it simply: an easy way to rake in profits of hundreds of millions of shekels and who came to his aid: Arik. The next stage revolved around Minister of National Infrastructure Ariel Sharon. Appel arranged a meeting for himself with Sharon and asked that he be permitted to build thousands of housing units on agricultural lands. Also present at the meeting were the heads of the Israel Lands Administration. Sharon instructed them on the spot to help fulfill Appel’s requests. When the head of the ILA, Bertie Brodo, and his aides tried to explain to Sharon their opposition to the plan they were reprimanded by him. At a certain point, Sharon even knocked his leg against the table and demanded that quick solutions be found. He threatened that whoever would not see to the arrangement of this matter by January would be dismissed from the ILA.
When the affair was revealed in the media, Sharon said the remarks were said jokingly and apparently those present didn’t understand them. What is Sharon’s explanation? As usual. There is no connection between the actions he took and the political and financial support Appel gave the Sharon family. He of course acted as he did for professional reasons and because this is a matter that he feels strongly about and not in order to help Appel. At the end of the police investigation of the members of the Sharon family, the State Prosecutor’s office decided to issue an indictment in this case. The new attorney general, Menachem Mazuz, decided that as far as he was concerned, there was no proof here of criminal intent.
The Sons’ Business Dealings
In 1999, the Israel Land Development Corporation bought a 42-month option for the purchase of the S.P. Hanegev company. In October 2002, Arik Sharon submitted a letter attesting to the integrity of Yaakov Nimrodi to the Tel Aviv magistrate court where the verdict in the case of Yaakov Nimrodi was about to issued. A month later, in November 2002, the Israel Land Development Corporation waived the exercising of the option. The significance of this waiving: NIS 1.3 million remained in the possession of a company whose owners include Omri and Gilad Sharon. Just like that the Israel Land Development Corporation waived the money.
The Sons’ Business Dealings continued
Omri Sharon appointed Shimon Katznelson chairman of Mifal Hapayis (the national lottery), one of the most economically powerful bodies in the country. Its chairman is able to inject huge sums into local authorities and diverse projects. Katznelson’s only experience is his service as a member of the Ashdod city council. The appointment came after Katznelson had been a prominent supporter of the Sharon family and had helped it with all of its political needs in the southern region. For example, he took care to set up a new immigrants forum for Arik and he helped Omri get elected to the Knesset. Omri, who was worried about running in his area of residence, in the Sderot branch of the Likud, ran in Ashdod instead.
The Straw Companies Scandal
During his campaign to head the Likud, Sharon also received tens of thousands of shekels in contributions from the Ofer family, one of the richest in Israel, which holds around 25 percent of the shares in the Israel Oil Refineries. Two and a half years later, in 2002, the government decided to break the refineries monopoly, but Sharon decided to overturn the government’s decision. Sharon did not disqualify himself from discussing the request of his financial backers and did not report his conflict of interest in the matter of the Ofer family.
The Cyril Kern Affair
The Cyril Kern affair actually consists of two episodes: one involved prohibited contributions totaling millions of shekels that Sharon received for his second campaign in the Likud waged in 1999 (the straw companies). The second is a result of the first: after the State Comptroller uncovered the prohibited contributions, he ordered Sharon to return NIS 4.7 million of the NIS 5.9 million he had received from Annex Research for his campaign to become the leader of the Likud party. However the
State Comptroller didn’t know that Annex Research was essentially a fictitious straw company. This led to the slow discovery of a long money trail that traveled circuitous routes around the world and was provided by businessmen with vested interests and came to be known as the Cyril Kern affair after the businessman who paid huge consulting fees to Gilad Sharon for vague and undocumented consulting services. The investigation still continues and the State Prosecutor and the police have yet to decide whether to issue an indictment. Gilad Sharon did not cooperate with police investigators and directed the police to his brother Omri and when his brother reserved the right to remain silent, Arik Sharon told the police that Omri is a big boy and must make his own decisions.
Former Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein said: “The use of the right to remain silent in public matters is unacceptable.” Minister Yosef Paritzky appealed to Sharon to direct his son to present all the relevant documents to the investigation. What did the Sharons do? Flouted the law. Here too, as in other affairs, Gilad Sharon, who lives with his father on Sycamore Ranch, is exploiting the immunity his father has, which prevents the police from searching the ranch. Sharon senior, needless to say, is not opening the doors to the police investigators. The police waged endless court battles to force Gilad to present the documents, but it was all of no avail. The son refuses, the father supports him and the court is helpless. This affair still awaits resolution and the ensuing decision of the attorney general.
Sharon’s visit to Russia
In June 1997 Sharon went to Russia. Joining him on that trip was Major General (res.) Yanush Ben-Gal who at the time was the chairman of the board of directors of the Israel Air Force Industries, in addition to being a private businessman. Ben-Gal claimed his trip to Russia was in his capacity as a private businessman in order to promote the import of natural gas to Israel. Sharon was questioned about this affair on suspicion of receiving perks in return for helping with the gas deal Ben-Gal was trying to promote.
In reference to the above trip, the question then arose whether businessman Vladimir Gusinsky had bribed Sharon in order to promote his own interests in the gas project. The investigation indicated that the entire trip of the Sharon delegation had been organized by Gusinsky and not by the Israeli foreign ministry and provided Sharon with assorted perks.
Weissglas, Schlaff and the Casino
In January 2001, three weeks after Arik Sharon was elected prime minister, Dov Weissglas, Yossi Ginossar and Omri Sharon visited Martin Schlaff, one of the owners of the Oasis Casino in Jericho, in his Vienna home. Muhammad Rashid, Arafat’s economic advisor and Leo Walner, the manager of the Casino Austria company, also joined them. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the compensation the Sharon government would pay the owners of the casino as a result of its closure due to Arab terror. The police, based on its findings in the Cyril Kern affair, concluded that Cyril Kern was essentially a pipeline for the transfer of funds to the Sharon family in that episode and that the twisting money channel was intended to conceal the identity of the real person behind the money – the Israeli-American businessman Arye Ganigar or the Austrian millionaire, Martin Schlaff, a close friend of Sharon’s, or a combination of the two.
Dov Weissglas is a vital player in everything involving Sharon. His business, defense and political contacts make him a key figure in the Sharon mystery. For years, Weissglas has been working with Sharon as his lawyer and consultant. Over the last four years, he has become Sharon’s political strategist and he is defined as the father of the plan to expel Jews from Gush Katif and northern Samaria. Weissglas is the owner of a finance company and also heads the law firm of Weissglas and Almagor. He is the Israeli representative of casino owner Martin Schlaff and his firm represents the other casino owners, including the Palestinian Authority and the Austrian company. Weissglas’ firm represents many Palestinian businesses, such as companies investing in developing Ramallah. He is also the lawyer of Muhammad Rashid, Arafat’s moneyman. When Weissglas became Sharon’s bureau chief, complaints were submitted to the Civil Service Commissioner about suspected conflicts of interest between his official position and his private dealings. The commissioner asked Weissglas to suspend his partnership in the financial company and the law firm, but instead of doing that, he deceived him and in the end did not fulfill the commissioner’s request.
These clients of Weissglas are also behind the plan to build another casino in Gush Katif after the expulsion of its Jews is completed. According to published reports, around 40 percent of the casino’s
profits went to Force 17, Arafat’s personal security force, but that didn’t bother Weissglas. This unfathomable link between so senior an Israel official and Rashid, the representative of the arch-murderer, seems like the most surreal thing that the reality of the Middle East could have produced.
The American public broadcast station agreed to air a film that reveals the truth about Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, the funds that disappeared and surfaced in the chairman’s personal bank accounts, and the direct link between Palestinian Authority funds and terrorist acts against Israel. The station had already signed a contract with the producers. The film’s backers also included some American Jewish supporters of the Likud. However, the film was never produced or aired. The reason: the film’s investors received a personal request from the director of the prime minister’s bureau, Dov Weissglas, asking them to withdraw their financial backing for the film. As a result, production work on the film ceased abruptly because no funds were available to go ahead with the project.
The Oasis Casino in Jericho was open from 1998 until October 2000, when Palestinian rioting started. One day during the rioting, IDF soldiers fired at the casino, causing damage to the place. The casino owners submitted a claim to their insurers, who said the claimants were not entitled to compensation since a battle was being waged from the casino. The Coordinator of Activities in the Territories, Major General Orr, also said that the IDF fire came in response to shooting from Palestinian snipers who were hiding in the building. He also said that the casino is a source of funding for Palestinian terrorism. In response, Major General Orr received a letter from the casino’s attorney threatening him with a libel suit. The attorney claimed that the IDF soldiers merely saw the concentrations of fire reflected in the casino’s glass panels and that the major general’s comments were libelous. Who is this attorney? Correct, none other than Weissglas.
In his autobiography, the late Shmuel Tamir, the minister of justice in the Begin government, illustrated the hypocrisy of politics with this anecdote starring none other than Ariel Sharon. In 1972, one day before his discharge from the IDF, Sharon contacted Tamir and asked to join the new centrist party he was forming. They met; Sharon listened, took interest and asked to see a copy of the party’s guidelines, folded it up and put it in his pocket. The two agreed to hold a press conference two days later and arranged to meet the following day, prior to their joint appearance, but Sharon didn’t call. On that day, Tamir was surprised to hear about a press conference Sharon was holding to announce the formation of a new party. Tamir heard it, but could not believe it. Sharon quoted word for word from the document Tamir had given him. Tamir took it all in and kept quiet. Two weeks later, Sharon called: “You’re probably angry with me,” Sharon chuckled. Tamir: “I’m stunned, astonished…” “I’m surprised,” Sharon told him. “The whole IDF knows that I’m contemptible and you didn’t know?”
“Corruption is the greatest threat to the existence of Israel.”
State Comptroller, Supreme Court Justice Eliezer Goldberg
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