Controversial Head of Israel Police's Anti-corruption Unit to Leave by End of 2017

Maj. Gen. Roni Rittman reaches agreement to resign from Lahav 433, which is leading corruption probes into PM Netanyahu; a female officer who accused Rittman of sexual assault currently has petition in High Court over why he was allowed to continue in his post

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Israel Police Maj. Gen. Roni Rittman, who will leave his post as head of the anti-corruption unit Lahav 433 by the end of 2017.
Israel Police Maj. Gen. Roni Rittman, who will leave his post as head of the anti-corruption unit Lahav 433 by the end of 2017.Credit: Moti Milrod
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

Israel Police Maj. Gen. Roni Rittman will leave his position as head of the anti-corruption unit Lahav 433 at the end of the year and not seek another position in the force.

A sexual harassment complaint against Rittman was closed in December 2015, after he had been accused of kissing a subordinate against her will in 2010.

Rittman’s commander, the chief of the investigations and intelligence division, Maj. Gen. Meni Yitzhaki, is also expected to leave his position soon, meaning the unit’s leadership will be changing during the corruption investigations into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to an agreement reached between Rittman and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, Rittman will leave his post in the coming months and not seek another position in the Israel Police.

This was Rittman’s first posting as a major general, and he recently told associated that he wanted to be considered in the future for the top position in Southern District.

However, in light of the criticism against keeping him at his post despite the harassment allegation against him, and a subsequent High Court of Justice petition on the matter by the female police officer, he and Alsheich seemingly realized it would be best for Rittman to announce his retirement from the police.

Last month, the High Court ordered Alsheich to explain why he had decided to leave Rittman at his post despite the sexual harassment complaint.

Rittman is directly in charge of the national fraud squad and financial crimes unit, which is handling three current probes into Netanyahu. They are known as Case 1000, dealing with illicit benefits Netanyahu allegedly received from wealthy benefactors; Case 2000, concerning alleged negotiations for favorable coverage from Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes; and Case 3000, involving alleged corruption in the purchase of submarines from Germany.

Yitzhaki, who had wanted to remain at his post until the investigations into Netanyahu were complete, was initially set to leave in May, to be replaced by Brig. Gen. Gadi Siso.

Siso is already involved in the Netanyahu investigations and the investigators themselves will not be replaced, so no change is expected in the pace of the probes.

The Justice Ministry unit that investigates police misconduct determined at the time that the complaint against Rittman by the female police officer, identified only as Z., had merit. However, then-Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein closed the case because of evidentiary difficulties and the lengthy time that had passed since the alleged incidents.

However, the Justice Ministry unit and the Attorney General’s Office believed Rittman should not remain at his post, and Weinstein wrote Alsheich that Rittman should be subject to a disciplinary hearing. Nevertheless, Alsheich kept Rittman on as head of the anti-corruption unit.

In May, Z. – who has been on leave since she first filed her complaint – petitioned the High Court against Rittman remaining as head of the unit.

Alsheich told the High Court he had received two conflicting recommendations regarding Rittman, while the state prosecution told the High Court that Rittman did not recall reading an opinion by Weinstein.

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