MK Jacob Perry (Yesh Atid), a former Shin Bet chief, announced his resignation from the Knesset on Wednesday following a series of investigative television reports alleging improprieties in his former role as head of the Shin Bet security service and about his military service.
A report on the investigative program "Uvda" Wednesday night stated Perry did not serve in the Israeli army in contrast to what he claims. According to the report, Perry had been studying at Hebrew University and playing trumpet in the Israel Radio Orchestra during the years when he would be serving in the army.
This was the second Uvda report on Perry this month; it previously reported that while serving as Shin Bet director in the early 1990s, Perry failed a polygraph test when asked whether he had given then-minister Arye Dery information about wiretaps conducted as part of a criminal investigation against the latter.
In his resignation announcement, Perry wrote, “I never hid the fact that heart problem prevented me from completing my full military service. In recent months, various parties have tried to undermine my credibility and my many years of activity on Israel’s behalf. All my life I fought, worked and was even wounded in the course of my jobs with the Shin Bet security service."
Perry continued, "Given the fact that tendentious reports have cast a heavy shadow over my many years of work to bolster Israel’s security, and also over the values which the Yesh Atid party represents, I’ve decided to take a timeout from my public activity and submit my resignation from Knesset.”
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He will be replaced by Pnina Tamano-Shata, a lawyer and social activist who represented Yesh Atid in the previous Knesset.
Party chairman Yair Lapid praised Perry’s contribution to Israel’s security and said he admired his decision to resign, “which reflects Yesh Atid’s values and the public norms it has inscribed on its banner.”
Perry has denied the “Uvda” report’s allegations. Asked about them by journalist Amalya Duek at a Shabbat of Culture event last month, he replied, “I was asked if I gave information to an unauthorized party. ‘Unauthorized’ even includes my wife.”
But he didn’t reply to Duek’s assertion that the polygraph test asked specifically whether he had given information to Dery, and not just to an unspecified unauthorized party. Duek said Perry answered “no” to that question and was found to be lying.
According to the “Uvda” report, no steps were taken against Perry after he failed the polygraph test.
“Uvda” wasn’t the first to accuse Perry of problematic conduct in the Dery investigation. Haaretz journalist Amir Oren, for instance, wrote back in 1997 that the credibility of Perry’s story “was found to be lacking.”