JERUSALEM (Sep. 23)
A second senior aide to Religious Affairs Minister Aharon Abu Hatzeira has been remanded in custody by a magistrate in connection with the extensive graft investigation now being conducted by police. He is David Knaffu of the National Religious Party, Deputy Mayor of Lod, a key aide to the minister and related to Abu Hatzeira by marriage. He was remanded for 15 days and the judge gave instructions to ensure that he would have Knaffu available.
Police allegations are that Knaffu was involved in pre-election bribery in Lod and also that he received money by false pretenses. While the allegations arise out of the Abu Hatzeira investigation, they do not seem to involve the minister directly. Last week, another close personal aide to the minister, Moshe Gabbai, was also remanded in custody for 15 days. He is suspected of receiving bribes on behalf of the minister.