Israeli embassy denies Norris intervention

Tue, Aug 2, 2011, 01:00

The Israeli embassy in Dublin has said allegations that it was involved in the publication of a letter written by Senator David Norris to a court in Israel have “absolutely no foundation”.

It emerged at the weekend that Mr Norris wrote a letter in 1997 to the Israeli authorities pleading for clemency for his former partner Ezra Yitzhak Nawi who had been convicted of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy.

In a statement, the embassy rejected what it called “allegations made in the media by some Irish public figures”.

“No such letter was or is in the possession of the embassy; as in Ireland, the judicial system in democratic Israel is entirely separate from the Government and Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” the statement added.

It said successive ambassadors of Israel had enjoyed “a friendly, if combative and mutually critical, relationship with Senator David Norris over many years”.

“There is much admiration in Israel for Senator Norris’ work in Ireland in the cause of human rights and in particular for his endeavours for reform of the laws relating to homosexuality.”

The embassy said Israel “does not intervene in the democratic political contests of other states on behalf of, or against, particular candidates”.

“It wishes all candidates in the Irish Presidential election equally well and looks forward to a mutually friendly relationship with whomever the Irish people choose as their next President.”

Mr Norris is due to hold a press conference later today after three TDs who had been backing his bid to secure a nomination for the presidential election withdrew their support.

It emerged at the weekend that Mr Norris had written letters to an Israeli court pleading for leniency for his former partner, Ezra Yitzhak Nawi, who had been convicted of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy.