Retired Israeli General, Being Investigated for Corruption, Eyes Public Security Ministry

The ministry is responsible for the police, though Hirsch is being probed for money laundering, tax evasion and bribery

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

Brig. Gen. (ret.) Gal Hirsch, who launched a new right-wing party this month, says he hopes to be public security minister in the government that forms after the April 9 election.

Hirsch’s party is called Magen Yisrael; magen means shield. When launching the party, Hirsch discussed the investigation against him that three years ago blocked his appointment as police commissioner.

The 54-year-old is suspected of money laundering, tax evasion and bribing the Georgian defense minister. The investigation against Hirsch began in 2015, when he dropped his bid to be police chief.

The head of police intelligence at the time recently said that senior police officials had blocked the appointment. The Georgian minister was acquitted during a trial in his country.

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Hirsch said Magen Yisrael is a right-wing party that focuses on defense and diplomacy issues. He criticized parties that refuse to form “a coalition with an elected official before he has been legally convicted,” adding that he trusted Israel’s judges.

He said the police force has been in bad shape in recent years as the public’s trust in it has waned.

Hirsch said he would ensure that there are checks and balances in the police force, and that there would be no more over-policing, as he put it. He said his slate would include activists involved in female empowerment and help for new immigrants, a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor and a member of the ultra-Orthodox community.

Hirsch also criticized leaders who “provide a bad example to Israeli citizens and at the same time whine about the rift and polarization that they create  to be elected,” adding that “many people you elected in the past have to do some soul-searching.”

Hirsch last served in the army as the commander of the Galilee Division. He retired from the army after the 2006 Second Lebanon War amid criticism by a commission of inquiry of the division’s performance when two Israeli soldiers were abducted.

After his retirement Hirsch said the army brass had failed to take responsibility and had abandoned both soldiers and commanders.

After his discharge he launched the company Defensive Shield, and from 2006 to 2007 he advised Georgia’s ground forces. He was also active in various social welfare organizations.