Officer Who Recommended Charging Lieberman With Bribery Joins Lapid's Yesh Atid

Yoav Segalovich, former head of Israel Police's investigations unit, is considered one of most significant figures in Israel's war against government corruption.

Yoav Segelovich, May 9, 2012.
Moti Milrod

Yoav Segalovich, the former head of Israel Police's investigations unit, will join Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party. Lapid and Segalovich will hold a press conference at 2 P.M. Sunday to announce Segalovich's move into politics.

Segalovich served in the Israel police 28 years until his retirement from his last position as head of investigations and intelligence in August 2013. Along the way he also served as a district commander, commanded the unit for economic crimes, was one of the co-founders of the Lahav 433 national crimes and corruption unit.

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid at a Knesset party meeting, December 2015.
Olivier Fitoussi

As head of investigations he was entrusted with investigating former President Moshe Katzav, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Finance Minister Abraham Hirschson. He was also the one who recommended to Attorney General Menahem Mazuz to try Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on charges of bribery and thought the state should appeal his acquittal.

Segalovich was considered in his day an eloquent, honest, clean and ethical officer. During his tenure there was a strong emphasis on affairs of public figures, and he did not hesitate to touch on the most explosive issues, even when they involved the most influential figures in power. Many in the police perceived that he appointed weak people around him to remain the main figure and to be the one making the decisions.

Recently, there has been harsh criticism against Segalovich after the tragic death of chief superintendent Ephraim Bracha. Some have asserted and continue to assert that Segalovich was wrong to send Bracha to his rabbi with surveillance equipment, putting Bracha in a bad state. Segalovich does not regret the decision and said over Bracha’s grave that the moment the bribe was offered there was no choice but to send Bracha to conduct his work as a policeman. Another past criticism of Segalovich came from the press, after he was quoted as being interested in restricting the extent of exposure to police investigations. 

He said investigations should be kept in the dark after the public arrest of Bat Yam Maor Shlomo Lahiani, who was filmed on television as the police came to his home. He has stressed on a number of occasions that he recognizes the public’s right to know, but it is not the highest democratic right – and does not trump the right of the suspect’s privacy.

After retiring, he commented on cases the police investigated against Lieberman and said in January 2015 that he thought the evidence was strong enough to indict him in the straw companies case. He added he thought the attorney general was mistaken to reverse his initial decision to indict Lieberman, who was foreign minister at the time.

The person closest to him in the police was former commissioner Yohanan Danino. They followed one another throughout their careers. Segalovich received the Knights of Quality Government Award in 2013.