Israel's Public Security Minister Halts Top Police Appointment Until After Election

Police and prison service acting commissioners are allowed to implement any decision until process is complete, Gilad Erdan says

Public security minister Gilad Erdan, center, and acting police commissioner Motti Cohen, left, January 12, 2020
Emil Salman

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced Sunday he was suspending the appointments of new police and prison service commissioners until after the March 3 general election. He ascribed the decision to “the piling up of legal difficulties and the refusal of the senior appointments advisory committee to examine several candidates.”

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 56Haaretz

This month the committee refused Erdan’s request to vet the three candidates for police commissioner before the minister’s final decision. In response, Erdan threatened not to appoint a permanent commissioner.

Erdan informed the acting police and prison service commissioners, Motti Cohen and Asher Vaknin, respectively, explaining acting commissioners are authorized to implement any needed changes, including staff changes within the force.

The candidates for police commissioner are Cohen, Jerusalem District commander Doron Yedid and Deputy Commissioner Alon Asur. The Israel Prison Service candidates are Vaknin and Ilan Malka. Erdan asked Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit for an opinion on each candidate, to rule out the possibility of disqualification by the committee. Mendelblit said there was no legal obstacle to submitting any candidate to the panel, but added that the committee should be told of any significant incidents in their past, so that the committee can express its opinion about them.

The committee refused to review all candidates, as Erdan requested, saying the cabinet resolution governing its work specified that the minister can only bring one candidate before it.