- (1948- )In January 1997, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Bar-On, a Jerusalem-based criminal lawyer and Likud Party activist, was to become Israel's next attorney general. A scandal ensued, and Bar-On resigned. It was soon reported that the Bar-On appointment was in fact the result of extortion on the part of Arye Deri, the then embattled leader of the ultra-Orthodox Sephardi Torah Guardians (SHAS) Party. Reportedly, Deri had conditioned SHAS's approval for the January 1997 Hebron agreement with the Palestinians on Bar-On's appointment and threatened to bring down the Netanyahu government if Bar-On was not chosen. Netanyahu denied the report but suggested that the police open an investigation. The police ultimately recommended four indictments, but State Attorney Edna Arbel and Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein decided there was insufficient evidence that would stand up in court against Netanyahu and Justice Minister Tzachi Hanegbi. On 15 June 1997, the Israeli Supreme Court upheld the decision of the attorney general not to prosecute the prime minister or justice minister in the "Bar-On Affair." Bar-On was elected to the 17th Knesset in 2006 on the Kadima list and was appointed interior minister in the Ehud Olmert-led government of May 2006.
Historical Dictionary of Israel. Bernard Reich David H. Goldberg. Edited by Jon Woronoff..
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