Danny Ayalon 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman created an “atmosphere of terror” at
the ministry that made it hard to work there, his former deputy Danny Ayalon
said on Saturday in an interview with Channel 2’s Meet the Press
Ayalon explained why he was the prosecution’s top witness
against Liberman in the trial in which he testified on Thursday. Top diplomats
who testified at trial were afraid of confirming allegations against Liberman
because he might become foreign minister again and take revenge against them, he
“They still are serving there [in the Foreign Ministry], so they
would be risking their livelihood if Liberman returns to the ministry,” he said
in the interview.
The other witness who has supported
significant portions of the state’s narrative, Victor Harel, formerly was at the
ministry as head inspector, but has since retired, meaning that like Ayalon, he
need not worry about the impact that testifying might have on his
Amid charges that Ayalon was acting out of revenge against
Liberman for leaving him off Yisrael Beytenu’s Knesset candidates list, Ayalon
offered to take a polygraph test to prove he was telling the truth. He said
Liberman often forced ministry staffers to take polygraph tests to prove they
did not leak information.
Ayalon accused Liberman’s associates of hacking
into his email and that of people he had been in contact with after he
complained to police against Liberman.
“The police took my computer and
reached sad conclusions,” he said.
Liberman is accused of fraud and
breach of public trust in the case, referred to as the Belarusan Ambassador
Affair, but denies all of the charges.
The two main allegations in the
case are that Liberman failed to report Ze’ev Ben- Aryeh, who illegally showed
him classified material in an investigation against him, and that he
subsequently actively promoted Ben-Aryeh for the position of ambassador to
Latvia as “payment.”
In his testimony, Ayalon said Liberman told him he
wanted Ben-Aryeh appointed as ambassador to Latvia. Ayalon also told the
Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court that Yossi Gal, then director- general of the
Foreign Ministry, informed him that Sharon Shalom, then Liberman’s chief of
staff, had asked the directorgeneral to appoint Ben-Aryeh as
ambassador.Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.