JERUSALEM (Aug. 21)
Israel’s Attorney General, Haim Cohen, today lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court against the verdict of a Jerusalem District Court in the case of Dr. Israel Kastner. The “Kastner Case” has evoked a storm of bitterness on the Israeli scene and precipitated a Cabinet crisis shortly before the elections, when General Zionist members of the Cabinet abstained from a vote of confidence on the Government’s handling of the case.
The case began with the circulation of public charges by Malikel Gruenwald that Dr. Kastner. now an Israel Government official; had collaborated with the Nazis in Hungary and was, therefore, guilty of complicity in the mass murder of Hungarian Jews, Specifically Gruenwald charged that Kastner had “bought” the lives of a tiny “elite” of Hungarian Jews, including his own family, at the expense of Iulling the mass of Hungary’s Jews into a sense of false security.
In the trial which ensued, the presiding judge, Benjamin Halevi, found that Gruen-wald’s charges were, in the main, true. He fined Gruenwald only a token sum for failing to substantiate his charges on only one minor point. In today’s appeal, the Attorney General told the high court that Judge Halevi had erred not only in his far-reaching conclusions, but also in what was termed an “erroneous scale of trust” in the evaluation of witnesses who appeared before the court. Mr. Cohen’s appeal asked that the decision be reversed and that Gruenwald be punished for the circulation of false charges.