Avraham Hirschson

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Avraham Hirschson
Date of birth (1941-02-11) 11 February 1941 (age 73)
Place of birth Tel Mond, Mandatory Palestine
Knessets 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
Party represented in Knesset
1983–1984 Likud
1992–2005 Likud
2005–2009 Kadima
Ministerial roles
2005–2006 Minister of Tourism
2006 Minister of Communications
2006–2007 Minister of Finance

Avraham Hirchson (Hebrew: אברהם הירשזון‎, born 11 February 1941) is a former Israeli politician. He served as a member of the Knesset for Likud and Kadima between 1981 and 1984, and again from 1992 until 2009. He also held the posts of Minister of Communications, Minister of Finance and Minister of Tourism. He resigned following allegations of corruption, and was ultimately convicted of stealing close to 2 million shekels from the National Workers Labor Federation while he was its chairman.[1][2][3]

Background[edit]

Hirchson was born in Tel Mond and currently resides in Tel Aviv. From 1970 to 1992, he was secretary-general for the National Youth League (the youth branch of the National Histadrut). He has been the chairman of the National Histadrut since 1995 and chairman of the National Health Fund since 1996 (the revisionist counterparts to the larger General Histadrut and General Health Fund respectively). He helped found the March of the Living programme in 1988, but has not been involved in the organization for a number of years. During his involvement with the March of the Living the organization was accused of handling donations in a non-transparent manner.[4]

Hirschson is widowed and has three sons: Ofer (born 19 December 1968), Elroi (12 November 1982) and Barak (born 22 September 1984).

Political career[edit]

As a member of the Likud Party, Hirchson joined the Knesset as a mid-term replacement in June 1983 and served until the end of the 10th Knesset in July 1984. He rejoined the Knesset in 1992, having been elected to the 13th Knesset, and has served since then. On 10 January 2005, he replaced Gideon Ezra as Minister of Tourism. In late November 2005, he resigned from the Likud and joined Kadima. On 18 January 2006, he was appointed Minister of Communications while retaining the Tourism ministry. That appointment filled one of the vacancies left by the resignation of all Labour Party ministers in November 2005, the act that resulted in the calling of elections for March 2006.

Following the 2006 elections, Hirchson became Minister of Finance as part of the Kadima-led 31st Government, which took office on May 4, 2006.

Hirchson, who has been a strong advocate for the privatization of Israeli state-owned services, stunned his audience at the 2006 Caesarea Forum with allegations that anonymous individuals opposed to his reforms have attempted to bring harm to his person. He was quoted by Haaretz in its 23 June 2006 edition saying, "There are people who are trying to harm me and my family, by means of pressure and threats ... Detectives are following me, with the aim of harming me. This will not work with me; even if the threats intensify, I will continue to promote the reforms that are so important for the people of Israel."

On 20 March 2007, Hirchson was investigated for seven hours by Israeli police regarding an alleged embezzlement at a non-profit organization while serving as the chairman of the National Workers Labor Federation.[5] He suspended himself from May to July while Israeli police investigated him for embezzlement,[6] before resigning on 1 July.[7]

In May 2008, Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz announced that Hirchson would be indicted with a string of crimes including breach of trust, aggravated fraud, theft, forgery of corporate documents and money laundering.[8] In June 2009, Hirschson was convicted of embezzling millions of shekels from the National Workers Labor Federation while he was its chairman.[1] In July, he was sentenced to five years and five months of jail and a fine of 450,000 shekels.[9] He began serving his sentence on 1 September 2009.[10] He submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court on 24 September 2009.[11]

Hirschson lost his Knesset seat in the 2009 elections.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Vered Lubitch (8 June 2009). "בית המשפט קבע: אברהם הירשזון גנב" [The court ruled: Avraham Hirschson stole] (in Hebrew). Ynet. Retrieved 11 August 2014. "The judge in the district court for Tel-Aviv, Bracha Ophir Tom, convicted Hirschson of stealing approximately 2 million shekels from the National Workers Labor Federation...." 
  2. ^ Ofra Edelman (18 June 2009). "Prosecutors demand 'harsh' prison term for convicted ex-finance minister". Haaretz. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Ofra Edelman (23 June 2009). "ערב גזר הדין: אברהם הירשזון החזיר עוד 570 אלף שקלים להסתדרות העובדים הלאומית" [On the eve of his sentencing, Hirschson returned another 570,000 shekels to the National Workers Labor Federation]. Haaretz (in Hebrew). "the amount of money [stolen] was not decided formally by the judge, who said orally during the sentencing hearings that her calculations place the figure at 1.79 million shekels. Since the issue was not formally decided by the court, [defense attorney Yaakov] Weinrot informed the National Workers Labor Federation that according to their calculations [Hirschson] was convicted of stealing 1.73 million shekels." 
  4. ^ Shoah march offices used for political activity? Ynetnews, 21 June 2006
  5. ^ "Hirchson under investigation over embezzlement". Ynetnews. 20 March 2007. 
  6. ^ "Finance minister suspends himself". The Jerusalem Post. 23 April 2007. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Finance Minister resigns in wake of police graft probe". Haaretz. 1 July 2007. [dead link]
  8. ^ Tomer Zarchin (4 May 2008). "Hirchson to be charged with embezzling millions of shekels". Haaretz. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Former treasury minister Avraham Hirschson to serve 5 years and 5 months in jail". Haaretz (in Hebrew). 24 June 2009. [dead link]
  10. ^ Charles A. Landsmann (1 September 2009). "Israel: Mit einem Bein im Gefängnis" [Israel: With one leg in prison] (in German). Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  11. ^ Ofra Edelman (24 September 2009). "הירשזון מערער לעליון: בפסק הדין נפלו טעויות חמורות" [Hirschson appeals today to the supreme court: 'Serious mistakes in verdict']. Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved 11 November 2014. 

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