Stop the abuse of Gal Hirsch

I did it because I know Hirsch and his integrity, and because the shameful odor that came out from this story could easily be recognized.

Gal Hirsch (photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Gal Hirsch
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
The drawn-out investigation and its personal and legal ramifications in the case of Gal Hirsch, is cruel and intolerable, bordering on criminal, and should be addressed thoroughly. I was pleased to hear Minister Gilad Erdan say this week that he will demand an investigation into the sequence of events in this affair after it is over. That is what he should and must do.
The terrible torment is not only for Hirsch himself (I cannot even imagine what the man and his family have been going through in these recent years), but also – and especially – for us as a society that wants to see itself as democratic and civilized. This sad and scandalous case has caused Hirsch to lose an almost guaranteed appointment to police commissioner, and we, as a society, lost out on having him in this role. I have no doubt that he would have served with great distinction, as with the other positions he filled in the past.
However, this incident led to much more than Hirsch losing the job. It has brought about three years of terrible abuse of his family, his dignity and his integrity. It has stained the entire life of an outstanding IDF officer and warrior and stamped out his entire history and contribution to the country.
It is deeply disturbing that in 2018 there is even the slightest suspicion that a senior officer has been set up in order to thwart his appointment as police commissioner. It is extremely troubling that the police have had a document dating back to 2015 (before Erdan announced his intention to appoint Hirsch as police commissioner) that included a clear decision that Hirsch’s case does not arouse criminal suspicion.
Even more disturbing is the report that shortly after the minister’s announcement to appoint Hirsch, there were those who were immediately ordered or asked to collect incriminating material about the candidate. It’s not merely disturbing – it is frightening, evoking association with dark regimes that Israel should have no resemblance to.
But even without all this, one does not have to be a genius or a great investigator in order to understand that something in the file about Gal Hirsch, and something about the entire story of his negated appointment, is wrong.
That’s why, immediately after the affair broke out, when it was generally unpopular, I posted on Facebook demanding an accelerated investigation into the matter, or a completion of Hirsch’s appointment. I did it because I know Hirsch and his integrity, and because the shameful odor that came out from this story could easily be recognized.
This is also the reason why on January 28, 2018, in the course of the Knesset plenum, during question time, I asked the Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, about the reasons for revoking the appointment of Gal Hirsch as commissioner. Erdan did not fall from the podium when I asked him about a deliberate thwarting. He replied: “I was the one who asked to appoint him, I thought he was a worthy candidate, and I still think so, but we also have to understand the context of things. I was not exposed to the material, but I think that the demand and reasonable expectation should be that the police will not keep investigative material on people for many years. If there is a need to investigate Hirsch, they should do so. If not, the police should close this case and not hold materials” (from the Knesset plenum protocols 28.1.18).
Erdan is 100% correct. This issue of Gal Hirsch should be dealt with immediately. Stop the abuse at once. If there really is something, the police should say so now (and I allow myself to assume that they would have said so long ago if this were the case). But if there is nothing, if this affair turns out to be a big balloon with nothing inside it, the police should close the case, shelve it once and for all, and put an end to this farce, as well as the inhuman suffering and torture that Hirsch and his family are undergoing.
And yes, Minister Erdan should also correct the injustice caused to Hirsch and to the entire system which was damaged by thwarting the appointment and from this affair, and appoint Hirsch as the next police commissioner. Not only for Hirsch – but also and mainly for all of us, as a society and as a state.
The author is an MK and the deputy speaker of the Knesset.