Israel Police has invested millions of shekels in a joint venture with the Fifth Dimension Company, headed by former chief of staff and chairman of the Israeli Resilience Party, Benny Gantz, Haaretz reports.
The connection between the parties was exempt from the tender. The company recently stopped its activity and fired its employees. Following the publication of the report, the Likud will appeal to the attorney general to investigate the chairman of the Resilience to Israel, Benny Gantz and the former Israel Police Commissioner, Roni Alshich.
According to Haaretz, the “Fifth Dimension” offered an artificial intelligence system for intelligence purposes, designed for use by civilian enforcement agencies, such as police and tax authorities. Gantz served as president of the company, alongside his second in command, former deputy head of the Mossad, Ram Ben-Barak, who recently joined the Yesh Atid party. Among their advisers were former Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen and Bentzi Sau, who served as deputy police commissioner. One of its main investors was Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Vekselberg was one of the officials whom the Trump administration-imposed sanctions on, following the poisoning of the Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.
In 2017, the police called the “Fifth Dimension” without a tender for an experiment in operating the system, at a cost of NIS 4 million. Such a connection with an exemption from a tender is supposed to take place only under special circumstances.
The Israel Police said in response: “This is a pilot that ended in 2017. The decision was made by the Tenders Committee and approved by the Israel Police Exemption Committee, which was meticulous, thorough, and acted in a proper procedure and in a similar scope to the examinations conducted prior to the engagement of the Israel Police with suppliers with exemption.”
The director of the “Fifth Dimension,” former Mossad official Doron Cohen, said in the context of the reports: “Police Commissioner Roni Alshich defined the platform we set up as ‘game changer,’ and today the police know more, and I will not be surprised If they do not develop their own technology, I’m not the address to ask why this case is exempted from a tender, but I can say that the company provided a service to the police’s great satisfaction … I guess there were other competitors and we beat them.”
According to Cohen, “The company was closed for one reason only – the sanctions imposed in the US on the investor Viktor Vekselberg, when the company’s main market is the enforcement agencies in the US that enforce the sanction on the owner, and other investors said, ‘We do not bring a healthy head to a sick bed,’ even though everyone was enthusiastic about technology, and what happened to us is a scenario we could not have expected. Benny Gantz was an outstanding chairman. Even if it takes another 20 seconds to make a decision, so what happened? The Syrians are not on fences. This is character assassination and an injustice.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)