Nahi Eyal, the director of an organization that advocates on behalf of Jewish settlements in the territories, is trying to recruit yeshiva graduates - especially those who live in the settlements - to the Israel Police ("New religious recruits to try to change Israel Police 'from within,'" December 25 ). His goal is to change the police force from within and to produce commanders - including, in a decade or two, the head of the Judea and Samaria District - who represent the religious Zionist public.
Eyal does not conceal his plans. He even works in coordination with Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino and the police's head of human resources, Maj. Gen. Yaron Be'eri, who was brought into the force from the Israel Defense Forces. Joining the police force as a career path is not a favor that Eyal, or the candidates, are doing to Israeli society; but for some reason, it is being presented as an effort to bridge the gap between two different communities. If the slogan of the Israel Air Force is "The best become pilots," then Eyal and Danino's is "The settlers become police officers."
The Basic Law on the Freedom of Occupation prohibits barring candidates for any job, including in security and law enforcement, solely on the basis of where they live. At the same time, it also prohibits favoring candidates because of where they live and thereby discriminating against their competitors for the same positions. Settlers who wish to be police officers must meet the same standards, enjoy the same benefits and fulfill the same duties as all other citizens.
One of these duties is being available to work every day of the week and anywhere in the country, as needed. Senior officers can be kept from being promoted to important positions in remote areas if they refuse to move for the duration. It is odd, then, that the police would agree in advance not to assign settler-officers to the Judea and Samaria District, for fear of creating friction with their neighbors or even be forced to evacuate settlers from unauthorized outposts.
While it is desirable that the compartmentalization that is a function of operational secrecy would lead to giving priority to police officers who are not emotionally involved in operations requiring engagement with settlers - as the IDF has done recently in the Central Command - this should be achieved through command policy, not dictated by settlers who join the force. Police officers must obey the law and the chain of command, not rabbis or dealmakers.
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