JERUSALEM (Feb. 1)
Israeli courts will be required to rule shortly on the fate of two foreign Jews whose alleged involvement in crimes abroad will be weighed against the legal right of all Jews to remain in the country. The case of Meyer Lansky, reputed kingpin of organized crime in the US, will be heard next month by a five-man bench of the Israel Supreme Court. A Jerusalem district court may be asked to rule on France’s request for the extradition of Claude Lipsky, a French Jewish financier wanted in connection with a major financial scandal in France.
Lipsky’s case hinges on whether the Justice Ministry decides that there are prima facie grounds for his extradition. France made a formal extradition request last fall after the French parliament speedily ratified a Franco-Israeli extradition treaty that had been pigeon-holed for over a decade. Lipsky, who fled to Israel last Oct, after the collapse of his mutual fund company, has applied for immigrant status. His application is still under study. But even a favorable decision on his behalf could not prevent his extradition since Israel agreed to extradite its own citizens under the treaty with France.
Lansky has also applied for immigrant status. He has been living in Israel for more than a year on a visitor’s visa which he had periodically renewed. When the Interior Ministry refused to renew it last fall, Lansky obtained a show cause writ from the Supreme Court. The Ministry defended its decision and presented massive documentation of Lansky’s alleged involvement in crime which was obtained from law enforcement agencies in the US.