Former Shin Bet head and Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Peri admitted that he had lied for many years about his military service despite having never served in the IDF.
Peri had resigned from the Yesh Atid faction in February after a report on the Uvda investigative television program alleged that he had never served in the IDF and that he had leaked information about police wiretaps to Shas head Aryeh Deri while he headed the Shin Bet.
After the report had aired, Peri released a vague statement that neither denied nor confirmed the allegations. However, in a trailer for Hadashot's Ulpan Shishi newsmagazine, Peri is seen admitting that he had fabricated his non-existent military service out of embarrassment for not having served in the IDF.
"In 1961, I arrived at the IDF's recruitment center in Petah Tikva and after a medical checkup, they told me I had a heart murmur and that I was not fit enough to serve in the army," Peri recounted to journalist Amnon Abramovich.
"I took this very, very, hard. I lied brazenly," continued Peri. "I became a bold faced liar to cover up my embarrassment for not having served," adding that "this lie has run after me, with my responsibility, because of me, until the Uvda expose."
The report in February had detailed a rash of inconsistencies relating to Peri's fictitious military service. Peri had said that he demobilized from the army at the rank of corporal, an unusually low rank for a soldier who completed his full three years of service. Despite having claimed to have fought in the 1967 Six Day War as a paratrooper, no one that reporter Omri Assenheim spoke to remembered Peri.
The lawmaker resigned from the Knesset a few hours before the report was aired and had claimed that the questions regarding the inconsistencies over his military service were a distraction to the Knesset.
"I never hid the fact that heart problems prevented me from completing full military service,” said Peri. “In the past months there are those who are trying to undermine my credibility and long years of service to the State of Israel. I fought my whole life and was injured during my service in the Shin Bet.”