Netanya Mayor Miriam Fierberg was released to house arrest, an Ashkelon court decided Tuesday. She will have to remain at home for at least 15 days, and she will have to keep away from city affairs for an additional 40 days. Police had asked that she be kept away from city affairs for 90 days.
At the hearing Tuesday, police said that Fierberg’s crimes were very serious. “Fierberg falsified evidence and arranged for false witnesses in this matter,” a police official told the court. “If she is allowed to have contact with municipal officials there is a great danger that she will attempt to materially interfere with the investigation.”
Fierberg was arrested last week on matters relating to her involvement in the scandal, after others who were questioned alleged that she had profited from a real estate deal she approved on behalf of a contractor. She is accused of receiving a bribe, money laundering and of attempting to destroy evidence.
According to police, senior officials in the administration took action to promote projects being built by several real estate contractors, allowing them to skip regulatory steps and looking the other way on inspections, etc. In return, the suspects allegedly got payoffs, in the form of cash and property. Fierberg herself is said to have received several lots and an apartment in one of the projects.
In a statement, Fierberg’s attorney said that the mayor “has been running the city for 18 years and has worked in the municipal administration for 24 years at various tasks. Fierberg has always acted honestly and with good faith, and never has any accusation of impropriety been proven against her. I am positive that her innocence will be proven this time as well.”
Several other senior officials in Netanya’s municipal administration have been questioned as well, and several arrests have been made in the case. Among the detainees are two family members of the mayor. Both have been released to house arrest as well.