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Some of the suspected crimes are serious, including cases of corruption.
The document, completed in July 2014, was prepared on orders from the head of the police’s investigations and intelligence department, Maj. Gen. Meni Yitzhaki, Drucker reported. It contains all the intelligence police have about all 120 Knesset members and cabinet ministers who served in the previous Knesset.
Drucker’s report generated shock waves in the Knesset, and on Tuesday Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein demanded an explanation from Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich. He asked Alsheich and Yitzhaki to meet with him as soon as possible to discuss why the police decided to prepare the document, which contains information about MKs that never resulted in an open criminal investigation.
“So far, with all due respect, I haven’t received a satisfactory explanation for the production of this document,” Edelstein wrote. “Without, of course, casting doubt on the police’s authority and obligation to investigate Knesset members in appropriate cases, amassing information like this, in the manner in which it was reportedly done, raises many questions, including some related to MKs’ freedom of action and [parliamentary] immunity, and to the use that law-enforcement agencies made of this material.”
Edelstein said he wanted to meet with Alsheich and Yitzhaki “to understand the goal of producing this document and to ensure that the police are acting in compliance with the purpose and spirit of the immunity law.”
Police said in response that Alsheich “will meet with the Knesset speaker any time he is asked to do so, and will give him all the facts relevant to understanding the issue.”
MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid), who heads the caucus for improving the Knesset’s image, asked Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit to probe the document’s production to remove the cloud hovering over all MKs as soon as possible.
MK Miki Rosenthal (Zionist Union) said the fact that the police gathered such information and compiled it into a single document “raises serious questions about its purpose. If suspicions exist, they should be investigated immediately. But if this is gossipy information about MKs’ affairs, then this document was prepared in order to create a tool through which elected representatives could be extorted when the time comes.”
In response to Drucker’s report, the police said in a statement that the investigations department’s policy “is to examine all intelligence professionally and thoroughly, and exhaust every procedure required by our function. All gathering or use of information is carried out in compliance with the law and the authority given us by the authorized parties in the police and [other] law enforcement agencies, based purely on professional considerations and with the appropriate sensitivity. It is also reported in compliance with the law.
“The police vehemently deny that they systematically gather information in order to check whether Knesset members are suspected of crimes,” the statement continued. “Every investigation of MKs requires the attorney general’s approval. Any information about a Knesset member that raises real suspicions of a prima facie crime is immediately passed on to the attorney general or the state prosecutor.”