Retired Israeli General Gal Hirsch Launches Political Party to Run in Upcoming Election

In making his bid for public office, Hirsch, whose party is called Magen Yisrael, said the country needs to be tough on defense matters but compassionate on social issues

Gal Hirsch speaking in Tel Aviv, December, 2018.
Meged Gozani

Retired Brig. Gen. Gal Hirsch, a former commander of the Galilee division of the army, is forming a new party that will be running in the April 9 general election. His party, Magen Yisrael, which translates as Defender of Israel or Shield of Israel, is expected to be registered on Tuesday.

Expressing the need to address social issues, Hirsch said the country needed to be tough on defense issues but also caring and compassionate, "because I'm always thinking about minorities, the elderly and the situation of 'the other.'"

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 11Haaretz

Two retired chiefs of staff of the Israeli army, Benny Gantz and Moshe Ya'alon, have already announced plans to run at the helm of parties of their own in the April election.

Hirsch, who had been a candidate to head the Israel Police, convened his supporters on Monday, who signed the documents necessary to register the party. The retired 54-year-old army officer, who has faced an investigation over the past three years in connection with suspicions of bribing the defense minister of the Central Asian republic of Georgia, announced last month that he planned to enter politics. In a speech in Tel Aviv, he said that the criminal case against him was "fixed" and he had done nothing wrong.