Former finance minister Avraham Hirschson dies aged 81

Former finance minister Avraham Hirschson died Monday at the age of 81.

There was no immediate word on the cause of his death, which was reported by Hebrew media.

Hirschson, longtime general secretary of the nationalist Beitar youth movement, entered the Knesset in 1983 with the Likud party. He was named tourism minister in 2005 when he joined Kadima, which was made up of Likud and Labor lawmakers who backed then-prime minister Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

He will then be Minister of Communication before becoming Minister of Finance in 2006 in the government of Prime Minister Kadima Ehud Olmert.

A year later, following the opening of a police investigation, Hirschson resigned as Treasury chief. He was found guilty in 2009 of embezzling millions of dollars from the National Federation of Labor in Eretz-Israel, a right-wing alternative to the much larger Histadrut labor federation.

Hirschson was sentenced to five years in prison and fined NIS 450,000. A parole board granted him early release for good behavior in 2012 and he left prison in 2013 after serving 3.5 years behind bars.

In 2011, the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Hirschson in which he argued that the money he received from the National Federation of Labor was salary and that he had failed to declare it because as a member from the Knesset, he had no right to receive additional salaries. . The court dismissed the notion as being “at odds not only with financial realities but also with common sense.”

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