Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday backed Gal Hirsch, the nominee for chief of police, despite a rising tide of criticism stemming from questions about both his military record and his personal business dealings.
Hirsch’s appointment by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan will have to undergo vetting by the Turkel Commission, before which the nominee was scheduled to appear on Monday. Meanwhile, the cabinet voted to keep Deputy Police Commissioner Bentzi Sau on as acting police chief for 45 days.
Netanyahu endorsed Hirsch as “the best man for the job, the right man in the right place, with the skills to effect change, and contribute to the governance of the Israel Police.”
Hirsch came under fire last week from bereaved families who lost sons in the 2006 war in Lebanon, some of whom blamed him for mishandling the offensive. Hirsch resigned from the army after the war, though he was not found guilty of any wrongdoing.
Subsequently, allegations against him of corrupt business dealings surfaced, which are to be examined by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.
Hirsch says the accusations are baseless and are intended to scupper his nomination. “My business activities are legal and supervised,” Hirsch reportedly told associates last week.
In an online posting, he denounced the “slander campaign and various leaks to the media [that] harm my good reputation…”