Israeli Public Security Minister Denies Instruction to Refrain From Reporting Certain Crimes

Police sources tell Haaretz that spokespeople have been told to focus on Palestinian illegals, weapon seizures and drug busts.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich.
Olivier Fitoussi

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Israel Police spokesperson Merav Lapidot on Wednesday denied that police spokesmen had been instructed to issue press statements stressing the force’s accomplishments and to keep the media focused on certain topics.

Haaretz reported earlier on Wednesday that police spokesmen had not been issuing press reports about alleged rapes and other serious sex crimes that had taken place over the past two week. Sources in the spokesman’s unit said they had been told to stress “positive police actions toward the public.”

A source involved in the issue said that both Erdan and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh had issued instructions in recent weeks for press releases to focus on issues like Palestinians in Israel illegally, the seizure of illegal weapons and drug busts.

“These orders went down to all the districts, to all the spokesperson’s divisions, and our daily work is focused on that,” the source said. “All other issues are naturally sidelined and become less important.”

Erdan tweeted on Wednesday that the report “describing an imaginary ‘instruction’ given to the police spokesmen is false. It never happened.”

Lapidot addressed the report in an interview with Army Radio, saying, “I never got any such instruction.” She later added, “It’s more important to bring the rapist to justice than to report it immediately.”

Police sources, however, insist that such an order does exist, blocking reports to the public on important issues.