Former Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino denied on Wednesday that intelligence unit head Brig. Gen. Guy Nir had any incriminating material on him and that he had threatened to publicize it. Nir was put on forced leave on Tuesday until the allegations against him are clarified.
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“It never happened,” Danino told Israel Radio Wednesday. “I had a lot of meetings with Guy, including private ones; the head of the intelligence division meets with the commissioner all the time, continuously and consistently.”
With reference to another senior officer, Lahav 433 head Maj. Gen. Roni Ritman, who has also been put on forced leave due to allegations of sexual harassment, Danino said, “I appointed Roni Ritman after knowing him for many years; I had been his commanding officer in several positions in the past. There was indeed information about him but not of a nature that should have prevented me from appointing him.”
He added that he did not regret appointing either Nir or Ritman to their senior positions. “Both are very worthy officers,” he said.
Ritman has alleged that Nir engineered the sexual harassment allegations against him in order to settle personal scores. When told by investigators on Tuesday that Danino’s testimony Sunday in his – Ritman’s – harassment case seemed to support the complainant’s version of events, Ritman said that Danino’s testimony should be disregarded because he was acting under a threat from Nir and the complainant.
Yedioth Ahronoth on Wednesday reported that during his questioning Ritman was played a recording of Danino telling the complainant that Ritman was being appointed to head Lahav 433, to which the complainant objected.
“What?” she said. “But I told you he wasn’t suitable.” To which Danino responded, “I can’t appoint Chico [an apparent reference to Jerusalem Police Chief Moshe ‘Chico’ Edri], because he’s not an investigator. Now he [Ritman] is the one, and I have no choice.”
Danino told Israel Radio on Wednesday that “Any attempt to hint about my relationship with any of those involved is also nonsense I want to state unequivocally that there was no relationship other than friendship.”
Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich met with Ritman Wednesday and the two agreed to extend his leave until Sunday, to allow investigators from the Justice Ministry’s department for the investigation of police officers complete all the examinations requested by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.