Zionist Union's Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni.
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Police announced on Thursday that in their investigation into allegations of corruption by Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, they did not find evidence of criminal intent, and have delivered their findings to the Tel Aviv District Court.
While the investigation, which was announced in March, did not find evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Herzog, it did find sufficient evidence of falsified documents and receipt of an allegedly illegal donation amounting to NIS 40,000 by someone in Herzog’s election campaign. Herzog submitted an affidavit stating that the state comptroller was not informed of the supposedly illegal funds, police said.
According to police, “the investigation did not establish sufficient evidence to show criminal activity – that [Herzog] knew about the donation.” The allegations focused on the November 2013 Labor leadership primary, in which Herzog defeated incumbent party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich. Police were investigating whether Herzog used private organizations to fund campaign spending that went unreported. Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit initiated the initial probe.
In response, Herzog’s office said the opposition leader “received the police message and now expects a quick decision from the attorney-general about it.”
Labor MKs expressed satisfaction with the police’s decision. Even rivals and future political challengers of Herzog praised the decision.
MK Erel Margalit welcomed the decision and called upon the police to focus on its investigation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Former Labor leader Amir Peretz said he is glad a cloud had been removed from Herzog and Labor. He said he hopes the verdict will reunite the party.
“The time has come to stop attacking each other and return to focus on the future of the state,” Peretz said.
Zionist Union faction head Merav Michaeli noted that during the entire investigation Herzog had said that it would not lead to anything.
Labor secretary-general Hilik Bar said he is glad he supported Herzog during the legal turmoil he endured, “even when it became popular to attack him.”
“Now is the time to provide an alternative to Netanyahu and prepare for the next election so we can defeat him,” Bar said.