(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz said Monday he would not investigate Finance Minister Avraham Hirschson's charges that his life had been threatened because "the information I have received is insufficient to justify opening an investigation."
Mazuz made the statement in a letter to the watchdog organization Ometz, which, on Sunday, had written a letter asking him to launch an investigation on the basis of Hirschson's public remarks, which were made during a speech to the Caesarea Forum in Jerusalem on June 21.
During that speech, Hirschson declared that he and his family had been threatened as a result of reforms he wished to introduce in the economy. He added that those who had made the threats were also using private investigators.
"There are certain elements who apparently believe that by putting pressure and making threats, with the help of private investigators, they can cause harm to a minister of the government and his family in response to reforms already conducted and others that are on their way," Hirschson said at the beginning of his speech. He did not elaborate.
In his letter to the chairman of Ometz, Aryeh Avneri, Mazuz wrote that he had met with Hirchson one day before the speech. "In the meeting, Hirschson discussed [with Mazuz] in general terms, his feelings of 'persecution' in recent weeks, based on the questions that reporters asked him on various matters, the fact that private investigators had been hired to gather information about him, etc.," wrote Mazuz.
"The Attorney-General made it clear during the meeting that it did not appear, from the information he gave him, in its own right, there was enough evidence to justify opening a criminal investigation or taking any other formal step."
At the end of their meeting, Hirschson asked Mazuz to meet his lawyer to discuss the matter further. Mazuz wrote to Avneri that he told Hirschson to tell his lawyer that if had anything new to tell him, he should put it down in writing. The following day, Hirschson called Mazuz again and asked for his permission to announce in public that he and his family had been threatened. Mazuz gave his permission.
Mazuz added that Hirschson said nothing new in his speech that warranted opening an investigation, nor had he since received anything in writing from the minister or his attorney.
In response to Mazuz's letter, Hirschson's spokesman issued a statement saying Hirschson was "in continuous contact with the Attorney-General and was acting according to his directives. Just a few days ago, the two discussed the affair again. Hirschson is certain the Attorney-General will handle the matter as he is obliged to."