Top Israeli Cop Suddenly Quits Under Dubious Circumstances

Jerusalem chief Yossi Pariente becomes the fourth leading policeman to quit amid a cloud of uncertainty; he says he is leaving due to 'personal considerations’ and will not contend to become commissioner.

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Rabbi Pinto shaking hands last year with Yossi Pariente, who is now Jerusalem police chief.
Maj. Gen. Yossi Pariente, right.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The commander of the Jerusalem police unexpectedly announced his resignation Sunday, making him the fourth senior cop to leave the force under dubious circumstances.

Maj. Gen. Yossi Pariente announced that he was stepping down, telling colleagues he would not contend to become commissioner. The police said in a statement that Pariente had informed Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino.

The police said Pariente’s decision stemmed from “a variety of personal considerations after long service in key command positions in the Israel Police, including the command of two police stations, operational regions and two districts in a complex and challenging time.”

But police officials said the reason for Pariente’s resignation was still unclear. Pariente is relatively young for a major general and was not expected to retire even if another man was named commissioner. After the recent resignation of Maj. Gen. Bruno Stein, Aharonovitch and Danino said other major generals had asked to resign.

Earlier this month, Haaretz reported that Aharonovitch had offered the police commissioner's job to a reserve major general in the army, Gadi Shamni, after Danino’s expected retirement in May. Embarrassing affairs linked to top cops have reportedly made Aharonovitch consider bringing in a defense official.

“Anyone who knows me knows that … we will hide nothing when it comes to morality,” Aharonovitch said at a recent ceremony at national police headquarters. “People who do not act as required will not stay in the organization.”

The police did not say whether Shamni’s possible appointment as commissioner was linked to Pariente’s departure.

Stein, Niso Shaham and Menashe Arviv are the other three senior officers who have run into trouble in recent months.

About three weeks ago, Stein, the commander of the central district, announced his resignation. That day, Haaretz had published an article saying Stein had attended a party hosted by attorney Ronel Fisher, whom the Justice Ministry suspects of mediating a bribe, and had a drink with Ronel.

Stein, hitherto a candidate to replace Danino as commissioner, was one of only a few people invited to the party. In a statement, the police said Stein’s retirement was pre-planned and he was not connected to the Fisher affair.

Shaham, a former commander of the Jerusalem police, has been indicted for indecent assault, sexual harassment, fraud and breach of trust involving eight policewomen. He denies any wrongdoing. Arviv, a former police general, has been accused of accepting a bribe from a rabbi, allegations he denies.

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