Israel Police: No Evidentiary Basis to Indict Labor Party Leader Isaac Herzog

Although there is insufficient evidence to try Herzog, police say there is enough to indict a senior official in his primary election headquarters.

Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog at his party's convention in Tel Aviv, July 31,2016.
Motti Milrod

There is insufficient evidence to indict Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog in connection with suspicions of receiving an improper contribution to the 2013 primary election for party head, the Israel Police announced Thursday.

The investigation, police said, did not yield sufficient evidence to prove that Herzog was aware of the contribution, but added that there was evidence sufficient to warrant charges against a senior official in Herzog's election headquarters relating to alleged maintenance of false records and of receiving an improper contribution from the owner of a privately-held company. A final decision regarding any criminal proceedings will follow consideration of the police findings by the prosecutor's office.

The investigation related to the financing of a negative campaign against then-leader Shelly Yacimovich for the leadership of the Labor Party through a contribution that was not allegedly reported as the law required.

Isaac Herzog, who is also chairman of Israel's opposition and whose Labor Party ran in the Knesset election last year as part of the joint Zionist Union slate with Hatnuah, was interrogated initially in April of this year, under caution, meaning as a criminal suspect rather simply as a witness. The session lasted five hours. Also questioned was the senior election headquarters official and the owner of the company who allegedly made the contribution in question.

The company owner is said to have contributed about 40,000 shekels (about $10,000) to fund the negative campaign against Yacimovich, who was facing a challenge from Herzog as head of the party. Police allege that a declaration of contributions submitted to the State Comptroller's Office failed to report the contribution from the businessman.