Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Before approving the nominee for chief of police, Gal Hirsch, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein will review various allegations that trickled out about Hirsch and his companies over the weekend, the Justice Ministry said.
One of these alleges that Georgia and Kazakhstan asked Israel to examine Hirsch’s connection to some dealings a firm of his had with companies in those countries that are under investigation.
Another claims an FBI investigation has a connection to Hirsch.
A spokesman for Hirsch called both allegations groundless and attacked the factual possibility of them, charging that Hirsch and his companies were not even involved in the business dealings to which they referred.
Nevertheless, the Justice Ministry confirmed it is reviewing the allegations, which could delay the appointment by days or weeks to give the ministry time to complete its review.
The setback, though possibly only temporary, follows seeming progress for Hirsch on other fronts where there has been criticism of his appointment.
On Friday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who nominated the former IDF brigadier-general, met with protesting families of soldiers who died in the Second Lebanon War in 2006, who hold Hirsch responsible for their family members dying under his command.
While the group did not drop its opposition to the appointment, the meeting reportedly softened some of the criticism.
Meanwhile, the announcement late Thursday night that outgoing acting police commissioner Bentzi Sau would stay on for four months to assist Hirsch in his transition signaled that Hirsch was starting to get backing from some of the police’s top brass.
Sau, who earlier indicated he would quit as of September 1, said agreed to stay on until January 1 at the request of Erdan who chose Hirsch in consultation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Controversy still surrounds Hirsch’s role as an IDF division commander during the Second Lebanon War, though the state’s Winograd Commission cleared his conduct as a commander and said an injustice had been done to him when he was forced to resign over alleged failures that were better directed at the entire defense establishment.
The Turkel Committee, which oversees appointments of senior civil-service officials, is set to meet on Tuesday to begin the vetting process, which is in addition to the legal approval process by Weinstein.
Netanyahu has heavily backed the appointment, with it appearing that he and Erdan wanted an outsider to clear the police’s reputation following a series of corruption and sexual harassment scandals of top officials over the past year.