Israeli tourism minister spent Shalit meeting ‘drinking’

By Ben Hartman, September 13, 2012

Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov regularly escapes the watchful eye of his security detail and goes out partying until he is completely intoxicated, according to several of his security guards.

The guards alleged to Channel 2 news this week that as many as three or four times a week, the minister visits nightclubs, including one that features exotic dancers, drinking “until he doesn’t know where he is”.

“Sometimes he would be so drunk he would lose his balance. Some security guards would prop him up, but others refused,” said one guard.

The guards said the minister also repeatedly violates security protocol by heading out on his own.

The TV news report quoted five different security guards, including one who had reportedly passed a polygraph test.

Sometimes he would be so drunk he would lose his balance

The security guards said Mr Misezhnikov’s partying has led him to cancel official meetings, and that when the government met to discuss the deal to bring back captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit last October, Mr Misezhnikov was drinking with friends at a bar in the north, and was the only minister who did not attend.

On Monday, Mr Misezhnikov’s office denied the report, saying it was based on “fired employees trying to get revenge through defamation and lies”, and that the minister’s security detail follows all the directives imposed on all government ministers.

On Tuesday, Mr Misezhnikov issued his first response to the report, joking during a meeting between Israeli and Bulgarian government officials that “I made it to work today on time and I passed a breathalyser test.”

Last updated: 12:20pm, September 13 2012