Thursday, August 23, 2007

Court: Government Must Pay Up on Ariel Sharon's Oral Promise


So where does the government stand on the Gush Katif refugees in light of this decision? It seems an oral promise was made that they would be relocated into housing, and the promise wasn't fulfilled . . .

What about the market in Hevron? The government made a promise to the families that if they left peacefully, they would be allowed to return . . .

And the people of Sedrot were promised assistance and fortification of their schools . . .

This looks like just the tip of the iceburg--I think the government will be paying an awful lot out to the citizens for unfulfilled promises! Perhaps we are in for an era of honesty from our government? (no way!)

I'm sure it will be overturned by the supreme court in record time.

by Hillel Fendel

( Jerusalem District Court Justice Moshe Drori ruled last week that the State of Israel violated a 15-year-old verbal obligation given by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to contractor and businessman Nissim Gaon. The final tab to the Israeli taxpayer is not yet known, but it will be in the high tens of millions of shekels.

The story, as reported by Yair Shapira in the B'Sheva weekly, began during the early days of the great immigration wave from the former Soviet Union in the early 1990's. Then-Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir entrusted his Housing Minister, Ariel Sharon, with the task of finding housing for the expected hundreds of thousands of new immigrants from Russia. More than a million people ultimately arrived.

Sharon met at the time with Nissim Gaon, the Chairman of the World Sephardi Federation and older brother of popular Israeli singer Yehoram Gaon, and enlisted him in the cause. Sharon and other Housing Ministry officials exhorted Gaon, more than once, to build in the south, and that the Ministry would purchase 3,000 apartments from him. The projects were to be built mainly in Be'er Sheva and Ofakim.

With nothing in writing, Gaon hurried to begin work on the project, and even opened a factory for pre-fab housing. Shortly afterwards, the government reneged on the deal - and Gaon sued. The State's defense was that nothing had been promised in writing.

In the course of the trial, witnesses testified that Ariel Sharon often ordered contractors to begin projects even before contracts were signed or the necessary permits were issued. Sharon was known as a "bulldozer" in getting things done, especially when it came to building the country. This, of course, was in technical violation of the Budget Law.

Justice Drori ruled that governmental promises, even verbal ones, must be fulfilled. "Israeli spontaneity, a la Ariel Sharon, has a price, and we will all pay it," the judge concluded.

In keeping with his usual practice, Justice Drori filled his 80-page ruling with quotations, citations and argumentation from Jewish Law. This, in keeping with the Basic Law: Human Dignity, which stipulates that the "values of the State of Israel are those of a Jewish and democratic state, and that Jewish values may be gleaned from Jewish Law."

Ariel Sharon, who was Israel's Prime Minister in 2001-2006, has been in a coma since January 2006 - just five months after implementing the Disengagement from Gush Katif and northern Shomron. He suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage at that time, less than a month after experiencing a milder stroke. Since November 2006, Sharon has been in a long-term care center, in a condition doctors have described as "a persistent vegetative state with extremely slim chances of regaining consciousness."

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