Former Israel Police General Questioned for Allegedly Taking Bribes

Menashe Arviv has resigned as commander of Israel Police’s elite intelligence unit due to allegations that he received favors from Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto.

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Israel Police Maj. Gen. Menashe Arviv announces his resignation, February 9, 2014.
Israel Police Maj. Gen. Menashe Arviv announces his resignation, February 9, 2014.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Former police Maj. Gen. Menashe Arviv was questioned on Sunday by Justice Ministry investigators about allegations that he took bribes in the form of favors from Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto.

Arviv recently resigned under pressure as commander of the Israel Police’s elite intelligence unit because of information that reached Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein alleging he had accepted the favors from Pinto and the rabbi’s associates while he, Arviv, had served as the Israel Police’s attaché in the United States.

The investigation of Arviv became possible after Pinto signed a plea bargain agreement with the State Prosecutor’s Office. According to the agreement, Pinto will testify against Arviv if the latter is indicted. In exchange for his testimony, Pinto’s sentence for attempted bribery of police Brig. Gen. Ephraim Bracha will be reduced to a year’s imprisonment.

Arviv announced his retirement from the police force last February, criticizing the way the legal establishment was handling his case. “I can no longer accept the behavior of the legal establishment, of which I was an inseparable part for years,” he said at the time, “a system that is tarring and feathering my family and me.” He added, “Several times I have contacted the attorney general, the state prosecutor and the police chief. I demanded that they summon me for questioning and testing so that I could respond to each claim against me, if any exists. For a month I have been staying at home at my own expense to allow any examination, but no one has contacted me or asked me to tell my story.”

Arviv claimed the evidence that Pinto’s defense attorneys provided was forged. In a letter that his attorneys, Gideon Fisher and Yehoshua Reznik, sent to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich and Uri Carmel, the head of the Justice Ministry’s department for the investigation of police officers, Arviv gave his own account of each favor he allegedly received.

Arviv refuted the claim that Pinto and his associates had funded a 22-day stay in the Metro Hotel in New York, calling it a lie. The bill that was made public in the media shows that he stayed at the Metro from June 9-14, 2012, but he says his journal from that time shows he was in Washington at the time as part of his job. Arviv also said the polygraph test he took at a private institute shows he is telling the truth. During that test, he said “no” to the question of whether he had ever received money or other favors from Pinto or his associates, and to the question of whether he had stayed in the Metro apartment hotel in New York without paying for his lodging.

Arviv’s defense attorney said on Sunday in response to his questioning, “After the state notified the High Court of Justice that the information given by Pinto had been examined and found to be false, Gen. Arviv was asked to come to the offices of the investigations department for further examination of the web of lies spread by Pinto, [whose purpose was] to create a distraction from the major affair in which Pinto and his associates have been charged with: stealing millions of shekels from a non-profit organization for the needy and for Holocaust survivors. Gen. Arviv will provide police representatives with information that, by itself, justifies annulling the agreement with Pinto.”

Arviv’s attorneys expressed amazement that Pinto, whose credibility was challenged by many in the law enforcement establishment, had suddenly turned state’s witness against Arviv.

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