Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirshenbaum of Yisrael Beytenu has decided to resign from the Knesset, reported Channel 2 Monday. She plans to exercise her right to remain silent in the corruption investigation that she is at the center of.
"With a heavy heart and after an extended period of indecision, I have decided that under these circumstances I cannot be investigated in a proper way and I have decided – for lack of an alternative – to remain silent,” she reportedly said.
“Since I accept that choosing to remain silent has many meanings, I decided not to run in the next elections and to devote my time to defending my innocence and helping my family recover,” she added.
Kirshenbaum said her mother's bank account had been seized by police without anyone informing her of this, “leaving her helpless and in immdiate danger of having her electricity, water and telephone cut off.”
"My bank accounts were seized without allowing me to continue to pay what I have committed to pay, or even buy goods at the supermarket,” she complained.
Two senior members of the Afula municipality were arrested Monday morning, as well as another senir public servant and additional suspects, as the investigation by the police Unit 443 continues.
Police have reportedly found about four million shekels, or about 1 million dollars, in Kirshenbaum's bank accounts.
Two weeks ago, it was reported that Kirshenbaum decided not to run in the upcoming elections due to suspicions of corruption against her, but changed her mind upon request from the chairman of her party, Avigdor Liberman.
According to the report, Kirshenbaum informed Liberman of her intention to quit politics following a meeting of members of the Yisrael Beytenu party, citing pressure from family and friends to do so.
Liberman rejected her request to quit and asked Kirshenbaum to reconsider, which she did, according to the report.
Kirshenbaum is one of 30 senior figures suspected of involvement in corruption. The suspects apparently illegally allocated budgets to NGOs and different sources, transferred funds to regional council organizations, and laundered money through "straw company" fronts.
Three other Yisrael Beytenu MKs have recently announced that they plan to leave politics. They are Minister of Public Security Yitzchak Aharonovich, Tourism Minister Uzi Landau and MK David Rotem.