Dichter: I Would Have Resigned

Public Security Minister Avi Dichter does not think Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi should resign from his post, following the warning letter he received on Tuesday from the Zeiler Committee. But were Dichter to be in Karadi's shoes - he would immediately hand in his resignation.

Dichter will wait for the completion of the Zeiler Committee's investigation, expected in August. This will mark Karadi's second anniversary in the top police post.

The warning letters the committee sent to Karadi and other senior officers impressed on Dichter that there is something structurally wrong at the police, particularly a flawed culture of operational discipline. Fundamental changes will be necessary, and this will be the job of the next commissioner and his senior staff. Nonetheless, Dichter is ready for the possibility that Karadi will not complete his three-year term.

When he assumed control of the Public Security Ministry - even before the letters were sent - Dichter readied two options for future commissioners. One of them is likely to be deputy commissioner Benny Kanyak, who has held this post for about six months. Dichter is considering external candidates for the senior post, including former police officers and senior officers from other security organizations.

Dichter's stance on the issue of Karadi's possible resignation appears to be contradictory. It reflects opinions Dichter heard in consultations as well as his 33 years of experience in the security services, including five years as head of the Shin Bet. The contradiction stems from a clash between law and values. The law, as Dichter learned from a conversation with Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, does not require Karadi to resign. However, the values of the secret services and special military units call for the voluntary resignation of the commissioner.

Dichter does not take lightly the decision by an organization head to submit his resignation to the relevant minister. Dichter has already pointed out that a resignation is not a show: Anyone offering to resign should take into consideration that the offer may be accepted. On the one hand, resigning brings public support; on the other, staying on requires the strength to survive criticism.

In the past, and contrary to the IDF and the Shin Bet, the appointment of a Major General to the position of deputy Commission in the police suggested an end of the line - no chance to advance to Commissioner. Dichter aims to change this trend, and considers the gradual motion upward a necessary process for preparing a successor. If Dichter does not see a worthy candidate from the ranks of Major General, he will seek someone from the IDF or the Shin Bet. Ofer Dekel, deputy head of the Shin Bet, is an external candidate.

Dichter views the role of Karadi in the current situation as complex. The Zeiler Committee has not dealt with his work as police commissioner, but with two of the four posts he held from 1998 to 2004.

Nonetheless, Dichter believes that if serious shortcomings in one of his three senior posts in the Shin Bet became evident while he headed the secret service, he would not have delayed his resignation.

While he headed the Shin Bet, Dichter issued an unusual announcement in October 2001 - that the secret service took responsibility, with particular emphasis on the unit responsible for guarding VIPs, for the failure to protect MK Rehavam Ze'evi, who was murdered by Palestinians in front of his room in a Jerusalem hotel. Dichter ordered an internal investigation and did not resign. His public announcement was interpreted by some as an effort to avoid having to take responsibility for the circumstances that led to the actual assassination.