In Be'er Sheva, It's Haircuts for Everyone at Police Headquarters

The Israel Police's southern district headquarters has a barbershop, which according to regulations serves only the police and career army officers. But Aharon Kremni's shop in Be'er Sheva serves civilians, too, whatever the security risk. The establishment is directly one floor below police commander Yohanan Danino's office.

Officially, everyone entering the building has to show ID and undergo a security check. But visitors who frequent the shop say they are spared the inconvenience.

"It can't be that inside the [police] district building where the entire senior brass from the south sits there is a private barber shop," a policeman from the area said.

He explained that in exchange for operating the barber shop in the building rent free, Kremni cuts the hair of policemen and army offices at a reduced price of NIS 20. He's been doing it for six years.

But the policeman said that "every day many civilians come to the police [headquarters] to get their hair cut at Kremni's ... from the early morning to the evening .... When they say they are on their way to Kremni, the gate opens without a lot of questions."

One of Kremni's regular customers confirmed this, saying that "when we say we are on our way to Kremni, they don't check us. Also, when you go to the barber shop, he doesn't ask us if we are police or career soldiers. No one asks us who we are."

Kremni was an Israel Defense Forces barber before opening business at his current location. His shop is decorated with pictures of major generals and defense ministers who have showed up for a trim.

Kremni declined to comment, other than to deny that he has civilian customers. Nonetheless, last Thursday, a Haaretz photographer arrived at police headquarters and said he was there to get his hair cut. He was directed to Kremni's shop without having to show identification. Once inside, he was offered coffee and charged NIS 20 for a haircut.

"The barber shop has been operating on the premises with approval for the past six years," the Israel Police's southern district said. "Only members of the security forces are permitted to get haircuts there. The claim that civilians are getting their hair cut there is being sent to authorized parties for investigation."