Former Shabak head resigns from Knesset

Yesh Atid MK who served as Shabak head resigns from Knesset after being accused of leaking information to Interior Minister.

Uzi Baruch ,

Yaakov Perry (right) submits resignation letter to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein
Yaakov Perry (right) submits resignation letter to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein
Yesh Atid spokesperson

Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Perry on Wednesday afternoon announced his resignation from the Knesset and his taking a break from political life, due to recent reports he saw as "casting a heavy shadow" on his service to the country.

Perry, now 73, once served as the head of Israel's Shabak (Israel Security Agency) and was wounded during that service. In January, he was accused on the popular television investigative program, Uvda, of leaking information to Interior Minister Aryeh Deri in the 1990s. Deri, a young minister in the Shas party, was then under investigation on charges of corruption. On Wednesday, Perry submitted his letter of resignation to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud).

In January, the Uvda program claimed that Perry and two others, one of them a former science minister, leaked information regarding police wiretaps to Deri and then lied on polygraph tests.

Though Perry admits to having a "good relationship with Deri" at the time, he staunchly denies the accusations and claims he is being slandered.

"As part of my job as the head of Shabak, I had a close working relationship with Deri. During the investigation against hi in the early 1990s, Deri complained to me about his interrogations, and stated that his conversations are being tapped. He said that people are treating him rudely, and invading his private life. He spoke about this to everyone. He never asked anyone to interfere, and never asked for anything regarding this issue. I, obviously, never responded to what he said."

Regarding the polygraph tests, one of which showed him as not telling the truth, Perry said, "I was asked to do it, and I agreed without hesitation to undergo a polygraph test. I had nothing to hide, just as I have nothing to hide today. You need to understand - sometimes a polygraph test takes several sessions. I did two, and one of those included two sessions. I can say with full confidence that many times the results are not completely clear."

"For the same reason, polygraph tests are only used during investigations, and are not considered acceptable in court.

"Regardless, this investigation was closed, and the Attorney General received the results and decided to act as he did. The investigative staff never found any reason to bring me to court, since they as well are aware of the disadvantages of polygraph machines.

"It's a shame that a serious television report such as Uvda did not state the precise facts. There is a very obvious lack of basic professional understanding of how polygraph machines work. The staff preparing the program chose to act as if they were undercover when they came to an event I attended. If they would have called me ahead of time, like they did with everyone else they interviewed for the report, and would have told me their claims and asked for my response, I would have been happy to explain. Instead, they chose to ambush me, and that shows that they have a specific agenda."

Meanwhile, Yesh Atid issued a statement saying that the party "respects Yaakov Perry's decision to resign" and noting that "his contribution to the fight against terror and to the State of Israel's security" will be remembered "for years to come."

"MK Yaakov Perry's contribution to Israel's security is one of the greatest Israel has ever known," Lapid wrote on his Facebook page. "I appreciate his decision, which reflects Yesh Atid's policy and the public norms we stand for."

In a Facebook video attached to the same post, Lapid said, "MK Yaakov Perry informed me today of his resignation from the Knesset and his decision to leave political life. I respect his decision."

"Today, it is important to remember the thirty years of Perry's great contributions to Israel's security.... I love Perry. He's my friend. And I regret the circumstances which caused him to leave the political arena."

Perry said, regarding the innuendoes hinted at in the program: "I never hid the fact that problems with my heart prevented my completing full IDF service. During the past few months, various people are trying to damage my credibility and the record of my many years of service to the state of Israel. I fought for Israel, acted on her behalf and was even wounded while in the Israel Security Service."