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Supreme Court Rules Abu-hatzeira Must Face Trial

The Supreme Court ruled today that Welfare Minister Aharon Abu-Hatzeira can be brought to trial without prior action by the present Knesset to strip him of immunity as a Knesset member. A five justice panel decided 4-1 to reject Abu-Hatzeira’s argument that his re-election to the Knesset last June 30 restored his immune status which had been lifted by the previous Knesset.

The minister, who heads the Tami faction, a partner in Premier Menachem Begin’s coalition government, is charged with embezzlement and theft in connection with his administration of a charitable fund when he served as Mayor of Ramle in 1976-77. His trial, interrupted pending the outcome of his appeal, will resume in Tel Aviv district court on November 20 with Judge Victoria Ostrovsky-Cohen presiding.