Retired Brigadier General Gal Hirsch, who apparently felt forced to withdraw his candidacy for police commissioner on Wednesday night, says he was honored to have been considered for the post, but disappointed at having been the subject of a “smear campaign.”

Last night the reality that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Erdan saw became clear to me,” Hirsch said during a press conference on Thursday.

“I thank them for considering me, for the faith and trust they placed in me, and for their brave stance over the past month. But it is clear that they cannot actualize their desire to appoint me.”

Hirsch's nomination, which came to light several weeks ago, has drawn heavy criticism in the media and among some politicians.

Hirsch led the IDF's Galilee Division during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, but came under fire for his performance after the war, especially for his claim the IDF was in “complete control” of the village of Bint Jbeil, where some of the heaviest fighting took place.

Seventeen IDF soldiers were killed during the Second Lebanon War in battles in and around that village.

After the war, Hirsch resigned from the military. For the past few years he has overseen the Israel Leadership Institute and the security company Defensive Shield Holdings, Ltd.

Commenting on the backbiting and nasty tones in response to the suggestion he be named police commissioner, Hirsch said that at 51, “I have spent 30 years learning what public service is, for better and worse." 

"I am very worried about some of the important issues in this society, including governance, democracy, and the rule of law – and about power and interest groups that were not elected to anything but in actuality direct our lives"

“I have been the victim of a smear campaign,” Hirsch added. “Values have always guided me, and I intend to continue to do what I can to influence society. I would very much have liked to have been commissioner, but I will apparently have to find another way to serve.”