Police Reject Yisrael Beytenu 'Targeting' Claims

Danino dismisses claims that corruption investigation of party ministers meant to affect elections, after over year of investigation.

Oranit Etzer, Ari Yashar ,

Yohanan Danino
Yohanan Danino
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Police Chief Yohanan Danino on Wednesday dismissed the accusations made by Yisrael Beytenu, insisting a deputy minister and former minister of the party were not "targeted" out of political motivations ahead of elections as part of a massive corruption investigation.

Danino spoke with Head of Investigations and Intelligence Commander Manny Yitzhaki and the head of Lahav 433 commander Roni Ritman, who are leading the ongoing investigation that has lasted over a year and brought 30 senior figures in for questioning.

"The Israeli police have proven over the years that it has and will do all it can to fight public corruption through all ways and means at its disposal, its obligation is to guard the democratic nature of the state with equality and without bias," said Danino, whose boss, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, is an MK for Yisrael Beytenu himself.

On Wednesday a gag order was released on the investigation, revealing that the prime suspects are Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirshenbaum and former Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, both of the Yisrael Beytenu party

Yisrael Beytenu claimed police were making "media arrests and investigations against members of the party ...The fact that this was done, again, at the time of elections testifies more than anything on the intentions behind the matter, which is meant to harm Yisrael Beytenu."

Danino responded that "the investigation has been conducted for over a year and the transition to an open investigation is an outcome of an evaluation of the situation regarding the evidence and its ripeness and from professional considerations only."

"The matter was done on advice from the Attorney General and State Attorney and after we investigated all considerations including the sensitivity of the election period," said Danino.