Until this moment, former Rishon LeZion Mayor Dov Tzur is not sure he did the right thing when he decided not to run for re-election in the upcoming municipal elections. "I really miss the job," he says. "It's the best job I've ever done, and there are moments when I regret my decision not to run. It was a decision I made after deliberation, and the dilemma still exists today. I don't know if I didn't make a mistake. But a decision is a decision."
Why did you decide not to run?
"For personal reasons. The tremendous hunger I had at the municipal level after 15 years, most of them in opposition as a councillor – I couldn't find it. If I found her, I would run again. Now, I am still in my soul a public figure and I want to make an impact on the national level and I have something to contribute."
Maybe as a Knesset member?
"Even as a Knesset member."
Will you run in the upcoming elections?
"I hope there will be elections as soon as possible. I think the country needs them."
Intermediate: There is an attack on the mayors
Tzur was arrested in 2018 as part of the investigation of Case 1803 on suspicion of accepting bribes, conspiracy to commit a crime, fraud and breach of trust. He underwent a torture of justice at the end of which, in 2021, four years after it was opened, the case against him was closed.
Police claimed at the time that a real estate developer from the city had run Tyre's fundraising campaign ahead of the local elections in October 2013, recruiting donors himself and setting up a fundraising mechanism. It was also alleged that during Tsur's term as mayor, he discussed the developer's affairs, made decisions and signed permits regarding his real estate projects, while concealing the connection between the two and Tyre's presence of a conflict of interest.
My city logo, photo: Israel Hayom editorial board
Construction project in Rishon LeZion, photo: Yehoshua Yosef
In March of this year, he was interviewed on Channel 13's "The Source" program, where videos from the interrogation room were revealed, and from the moment he turned on the red light for the police – a meeting with the same entrepreneur at a private business in Rishon LeZion. "On the first day of the interrogations I didn't know what they wanted from me, but on the second day of the interrogations I realized that there really was no story. But there was still a lot of concern, because I know that even when there are no stories, sometimes the justice system grinds slowly. I didn't know how slowly they would grind, and I also realized that what you were thinking might be perceived differently by someone else – so there were concerns."
Are you actually saying that the prosecution crushed you? Does something in the method need to change?
"You have to be careful, because I'm not one of those people who says let's pour the water with the baby and let's kill and crush everyone. We need criticism of the State Prosecutor's Office. I don't think – although there are those who I'm wrong and I'm naïve, I don't think anyone targeted Dov Tzur. There was no need to take revenge on me, or some bad interests. There is a bad atmosphere towards the local government. Some justified and some not. But there's a lot of focus and attacks on mayors."
Dov Tzur in detention (archive), photo: Gideon Markowitz
Could it be a matter of ego? That they didn't want to admit they were wrong?
"There is a problem with a system that is not criticized. They detain a mayor for eight and a half days. What we will tell later. What was the story? I was interrogated for a very small amount of hours during this time period. It makes you feel why it was needed. I am in favor of investigating public corruption with all my might. But the same outcome that maybe the prosecution wants, that I don't talk to my employees, that I don't manipulate, could have been done differently. Instead of coming to my house at five o'clock in the morning with dozens of police officers, looking for my two-year-old building permit to see if any window there is wrong, not to arrest me for eight and a half days, but to tell me, 'I'm taking you to Tiberias,' say, 'and you won't talk to any worker and you won't enter the municipality.' Everything needed to keep an investigation clean.
"But here there was an element of insult to her. of running you over. Like if I wasn't strong enough, I'd be terrified of this terrible experience of cockroaches and exposure – because I had cameras on me 24/7, including when I use the bathroom and when I bathe. All these things can not be done. After all, they didn't do that to Bibi Netanyahu. I'm an elected official, too. And there is no need to shame and insult me and present me. The dance that was for the first two or three weeks will open the newspapers compared to the final result. Don't judge the person before they are judged. I was judged both by a public trial and by the prosecution and the police."
The full interview on the "My City" podcast from Israel Hayom. Listen to the episode - and other interesting episodes.
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