Picture of Yoav Kish (left) and Guy Nir (right) at Knesset's Internal Affairs Committee on Monday.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Lt.-Cmdr. Guy Nir charged that Brig.-Gen. (res.) Gal Hirsch is “the victim of a targeted character assassination,” while speaking to the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee on Monday. “If I had not documented it, no one would have known it, and that’s why I’m in this weird status of being on forced leave for three years now – that’s part of the system.”
Hirsch had been Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan’s pick for police commissioner in 2015, but his candidacy was withdrawn when a police investigation was launched against him regarding several allegations, including one concerning suspected illegal business dealings with Georgian government ministers. Last month, the prosecution announced that the corruption charges against Hirsch were baseless and it was closing the case against him.
Nir submitted material to the attorney general and asked, in vain, for immunity in return for the transfer of additional information. He has accused the judicial system of serving as a rubber stamp for police demands.
Knesset committee head Yoav Kish said he had invited Nir to present his version of events.
Supporters of Hirsch have said that the scandal was manufactured to prevent him from becoming police chief, while the state has responded that the charges against him were complex and took time to clarify, including obtaining information from foreign countries where he had conducted business.
“For the first time in this hearing, we will hear the version of Guy Nir, who until now has not been heard,” Kish said. “I do not know what the truth is, but we have to hear his version.”
Nir said: “The police have sophisticated tools, which in the wrong hands may pose danger. When intelligence officials have information about public figures, this is a potentially dangerous force... Information that may be worthless, but its use can cause damage. People who violate orders make improper use of the tools given them. The tools are used by a handful of people against others, and the control mechanisms can not maintain total control. This system has been working for years, and is succeeding.”
MK Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) said: “Did you give the attorney-general materials that indicate that Gal Hirsch was the victim of a targeted assassination? You are saying something general and problematic. If materials are held by the police in an inappropriate manner, what did you do? The attorney-general heard about Gal Hirsch’s appointment on television. I believe the attorney-general and the state prosecutor who said that there was no attempt to thwart the appointment of Gal Hirsch. This is a strange, unnecessary, one-sided discussion.”
MK Yulia Malinovski (Yisrael Beytenu) said: “The most critical thing is the public’s trust in the police. We are hearing from Guy Nir that on the basis of anonymous complaints, judges like puppets, like rubber stamps, issue orders. How often is this happening? If you were aware of this, where were you before? Why only now? You have been in senior positions.”
The police said following the Knesset committee session: “We were pleased to discover that the officer has no new concrete information.... We will reiterate the officer in question was put on compulsory leave in light of significant disciplinary proceedings against him, after he also appealed to the courts against the police.”
“Sensitive investigations of elected officials and all such activity of the Israel Police are conducted by seasoned and professional investigative teams under the close supervision of the state attorney and accompanied by the state prosecutor and/or the attorney-general themselves (according to status),” it continued. “The Israel Police does not proactively gather information about elected officials.” Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.
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