JERUSALEM (Jan. 7)
Former Energy Minister Yitzhak Modai demanded an official commission of inquiry to investigate what he said were false and malicious allegations that he had taken kick-backs on oil deals negotiated by the government during his tenure. Modai, a Minister-Without-Portfolio in the present Likud government, appeared on television last night to denounce Labor MK Yehuda Hashai for raising the matter in the form of a parliamentary question.
Hashai’s disclosure that the police were investigating charges against Modai became a lead item on television news this week. Modai characterized the broadcast as “blood libel” and said it caused deep suffering to members of his family. He charged that the newscast had failed to stress that the police have found no incriminating evidence against him.
Modai also assailed his Cabinet colleague, Yitzhak Berman, who succeeded him as Energy Minister, for announcing yesterday that a special committee has been named to investigate the whole gamut of oil purchases.
Modai said Berman’s timing was deplorable and called his protest that the investigation was not linked to allegations against Modai unconvincing. Earlier yesterday Modai hurled the epithets “scoundrel,” liar” and “low life” at Berman in the Knesset lobby in the presence of other MKs and media reporters.