Yoav Yitzchak, the veteran journalist who is being blamed by many for driving Brigadier General Efraim Bracha to commit suicide, fought back Tuesday.
Yitzchak insists that a few days before Bracha's suicide, the Police Internal Investigations Department heard the testimony of at least two people who strengthened suspicions against Bracha. He is adamant that the knowledge that he would soon be facing interrogation is what caused Bracha to take his life, and not Yitzchak's hounding of him.
According to Yitzchak, the Attorney General decided last week to take testimony from “a central figure” who took part in a phone conversation, as a listener. Yitzchak then reports what he says is the transcript of the testimony, which was taken last Tuesday, June 30.
The testifier says that on March 18, 2012, she listened to the conversation in which Bracha was the main participant, and that in it, Bracha warned that police were about to arrest certain people on the next day, and advised that one of them – a well-known contractor – leave the country before this happens. The testifier said that the contractor did, indeed, leave Israel that day and went to Paris with his son.
The same testifier was then taken to two polygraph tests and found to be speaking the truth, according to Yitzchak.
The Pinto affair
Other journalists have been attacking Yitzchak ferociously since Bracha's suicide. At least one of these journalists claimed that Yitzchak was assisting Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto in besmirching Bracha, supposedly because Yitzchak admires Pinto.
Veteran journalist Mati Golan wrote that he went over Yitzchak's publications about the Pinto affair over the years and found nothing negative about Pinto.
Bracha, the head of the police's National Fraud Unit, had become a central figure in the corruption scandal involving Pinto.
Pinto admitted that he had attempted to bribe Bracha with $200,000 for information about a pending police investigation into the Hazon Yeshaya charity organization, which Pinto was closely involved with.
Bracha immediately reported the incident to his superiors, prompting a separate investigation against Rabbi Pinto himself. Bracha was cleared of any wrongdoing in the affair, in a police investigation. Pinto claimed that he had given Bracha additional sums of money during their years of friendship, and Bracha denied this.
Last week, Channel 10 reported that the Police Internal Investigations Department was investigating claims that Bracha passed along information to suspects targeted by other investigations. The Channel 10 report included claims from Pinto regarding Bracha's conduct, and the Police Internal Investigations Department reportedly announced that a criminal investigation into Bracha could follow.
A Modi'in resident who was married with four children, Bracha was 55 when he died. He was widely considered to be one of the most senior officials in the Israel Police.
He was found lifeless in his car on Sunday morning, after he told his wife early Sunday he needed to go outside for a moment to "get some air."