Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov (Yisrael Beytenu) is often drunk and likes to cavort at nightclubs, according to a report on Channel 2 news. The minister denied the report.
Channel 2 quoted unidentified sources in Misezhnikov's security entourage as saying that the minister's rowdy lifestyle detracts from his work routine and creates problems for his security detail.
Channel 2's Amit Segal said he interviewed several people in the Israeli secret service who said, among other things, that Misezhnikov failed to attend the government's vote on the Gilad Shalit deal last year because he was enjoying a party with some friends in northern Israel.
The Tourism Minister often spends wild nights in clubs, and does not always know where he is by morning, the sources told Segal. Separating him from other partygoers at nightclubs is not possible, and a security hazard is thus created. The minister allegedly preferred to show up at clubs without the presence of a bodyguard. "Dozens of times he would come back drunk, smelling of alcohol," a source was quoted as saying. "There were periods when it happened three nights a week. A public figure cannot behave in this manner."
A secret service man said that diplomatic embarrassments have resulted when Misezhnikov failed to show up for official meetings. The minister has reportedly changed nine security agents so far.
Misezhnikov's bureau reacted thus to the report: "This is mudslinging by employees who were involved in improper behavior and even violence, were fired for this, and now try to get revenge by making up lies and trumped-up defamation. After being terminated, one secret service man complained to the Public Service Commission, which looked into his complaint and determined it was baseless."