Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid (L) and the party's newest member Yoav Segalovitz, May 29. 2016.
(photo credit: YESH ATID)
Asst.-Ch. (ret.) Yoav Segalovitz, known for founding the Israel Police’s Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit and for his investigations of prominent politicians, announced Sunday he is joining Yesh Atid.
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid and the corruption- fighting ex-cop held joint press conference in Tel Aviv soon after police said they found evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister’s wife, regarding the use of state funds in the management of the Prime Minister’s Residence.
Segalovitz said that he decided to enter politics because, after 28 years in the police, he wanted to continue serving the public.
“Events of recent weeks have only strengthened my decision. It seems like we are part of a game, a circus, in which people cheer for the acrobats with no regard for laws and basic rules of fairness, simple truth and integrity,” he said.
Segalovitz said he felt Yesh Atid was a party that was “more transparent, cleaner, better... committed to the public, battling corruption in its various forms, out of an understanding that corruption is not just a series of criminal offenses, but an evil spirit that harms important values such as equality and public trust.”
Lapid said that Segalovitz joining the party was a significant boost for Yesh Atid’s efforts to combat corruption.
“He’s not afraid of anyone,” Lapid declared. “He knows what kind of damage politics can cause in Israel, and he is here to fight. He is here because Yesh Atid is determined to fight corruption, and we are building the force that will allow us to do it.”
The Yesh Atid leader said Segalovitz joins the party’s efforts to fight “old, broken” politics, which are “corrupt and corrupting, divisive and inciting, encouraging extremism instead of fighting it.”
There are few commanders in the Israel Police in recent years who have had an impact or profile approaching that of Segalovitz.
In 2008, he oversaw the formation and served as the first commander of the special investigative unit Lahav 433 – nicknamed “the Israeli FBI” – which combines under one roof the National Fraud Unit, the International Crimes Unit, the Financial Crimes Unit, the Stolen Vehicles Unit and the police unit that works undercover in Arab areas.
In the last decade of his 28 years on the force, Segalovitz oversaw some of the most sensitive cases. These include the Holyland real estate corruption investigation against former prime minister Ehud Olmert, the rape investigation against former president Moshe Katsav, and earlier investigations against Likud MK and former minister Tzachi Hanegbi and former finance minister Avraham Hirchson.
In 2009, Segalovitz recommended that then-attorney- general Menachem Mazuz indict Liberman on charges of fraud, bribery, money laundering and breach of trust.
Liberman was eventually charged with breach of trust and fraud, and he was acquitted in November 2013.
Segalovitz also worked in the shadows in charge of one of the most secretive investigations in the history of the state – the probe of the death of “Prisoner X” – former Mossad employee and Australian oleh Ben Zygier – who committed suicide in his cell in Ayalon Prison in December 2010.
In 2012, Segalovitz oversaw the bribery investigation of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, during which then-National Fraud Squad head Dep.-Ch. Ephraim Bracha was deployed undercover – along with his wife – to arrest the rabbi who until then had been close to Bracha.
Last year, Bracha killed himself, after what many have alleged was a campaign of harassment by supporters of Pinto.
Segalovitz is known for being one of the closest friends of former Israel Police Commissioner Inp.- Gen. (ret.) Yohanan Danino, and as one of his closest confidants during his often controversial time at the helm of the force. Even after Segalovitz retired he was touted as a possible commissioner.