Yisrael Beytenu remains defiant despite corruption probe

The spokesman for Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman's party expressed certainty that the party's officials are innocent.

December 24, 2014 18:47
2 minute read.
Avigdor Liberman and Ben Caspit

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman (L) and Ma'ariv columnist Ben Caspit. (photo credit: FACEBOOK)

Yisrael Beytenu expressed certainty that its officials were innocent as police began investigating Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirschenbaum, among others, on suspicion of corruption Wednesday.

“Like in every election campaign since Yisrael Beytenu was founded in 1999, once again the police did not give up on high-profile arrests and investigations against our party’s officials,” a party spokesman said after the gag order on the probe was lifted. “The fact that this happened, once again, during an election proves more than anything else the intentions of those standing behind [the investigation], which is meant to harm Yisrael Beytenu.”

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The spokesman for Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s party expressed certainty that its officials are innocent.

“Just like in the previous times, after the media noise quiets down, it will be clear that there is nothing behind the reports except for the desire to harm Yisrael Beytenu, which will not succeed,” he added.

MK Moshe Mizrahi (Labor), a former commander of the police’s Serious and International Crime Unit, said it is strange that Yisrael Beytenu criticized the police when Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, who is responsible for police, is in the party.

According to Mizrahi, the case “shows once again the depth of the malignant phenomenon of taking advantage of the government in a cynical, criminal way....There is almost no deterrent anymore.”

In addition, Mizrahi told Army Radio that the only ministers who voted against anti-corruption bills he proposed were from Yisrael Beytenu.

MK Miki Rosenthal (Labor) called for a national authority against government corruption to be formed, saying that recent cases harm the public’s trust in the authorities.

The authority would focus on investigating public institutions, examining economic decisions and conflicts of interest as well as promoting transparency. It would gather information on lobbyists’ activities and donations to elected officials.

Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely said in light of “the revelation of this corruption scandal and serious allegations against officials in Yisrael Beytenu, the decent population of Israel must be wary of voting for Liberman.”

Right-wing pundit and Bayit Yehudi primary candidate Shimon Riklin said Liberman’s recent statements about peace and a two-state solution are a result of the probe.

Riklin revived a slogan from the days of the 2005 Gaza disengagement, when then-prime minister Ariel Sharon was being investigated on corruption charges, that says the worse the investigation, the more settlements are uprooted.

“Corruption not only harms the country economically, it is bad for the people of Israel. Bayit Yehudi will not sell our political stances for cheap political tricks,” he said.

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