Nominated Israel Police chief Gal Hirsch, whose appointment has met with multiple challenges, on Tuesday testified before the Turkel Committee on the appointment of senior positions in the civil service.
In addition to Hirsch, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and former police chief Yohanan Danino were also set to testify before the committee.
According to the Haaretz daily, Danino is expected to oppose the nomination and has recommended that Erdan appoint a chief from among the ranks of the police brass.
The committee is not expected to make a decision on the appointment before receiving the opinion of Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.
Weinstein on Monday told Erdan that his staff’s probe into Hirsch’s affairs may take a long time, due to the need to examine in detail the activities of companies Hirsch was involved with along with those that a company he established, Defensive Shield Holdings, did business with.
Over the weekend Hebrew-language media reported that Defensive Shield may have been involved in deals with the Georgian government, signed by a defense minister who has by now fled Georgia and who stands accused of fraud and misappropriation of state money, including through deals with Hirsch’s company.
Separately, it was reported that the FBI is conducting a fraud investigation into companies that had dealings with Defensive Shield.
Officials at the Justice Ministry on Monday said that due to the scope of the material that needs to be examined, Weinstein will have a hard time defending Hirsch’s appointment if an appeal against it is submitted in the coming days.
The appointment was widely opposed by the police and by a forum of families who lost relatives in the Second Lebanon War. On Monday, the cabinet extended by 45 days the term of Bentzi Sau, a former Tel Aviv District commander who is serving as acting police chief. After Hirsch’s appointment was announced last week, Sau said he would step down but then agreed to stay on until the position is filled.
On Monday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lent his support to the appointment, calling Hirsch “the right man in the right place.”
But Culture Minister Miri Regev, who served as IDF spokesperson during the Second Lebanon War, when Hirsch was commander of the Galilee Division, criticized the appointment. She said reports after the war that examined his performance found Hirsch to be unworthy of command position.
Hirsch retired from the military following the war.
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