Israel’s Top Cop Seeks Ouster of Investigations Chief, Officials Say

Roni Alsheich wants to drop Meni Yitzhaki and revamp the unit immediately, police officials say.

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich speaking in December 2015.
Olivier Fitoussi

Senior police officials say Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich seeks to immediately replace the force’s investigations chief, Maj. Gen. Meni Yitzhaki, even though he is expected to retire in a few months.

The move has nothing to do with the so-called Yitzhaki document, which contains intelligence information on MKs and ministers from the last Knesset, the sources said.

They said Alsheich believes that the division must be rehabilitated after a long period of disputes among its senior officers, and that this process should be launched now by a new commander.

Alsheich also believes that the division’s work methods and management could be improved, the officials said, adding that he is seeking candidates from both inside and outside the police.

But they said the revelation of the Yitzhaki document slows Alsheich’s plans to replace the investigations chief because Alsheich is publicly backing Yitzhaki in the controversy over the document.

The sources said Alsheich sought to replace Yitzhaki a few months ago but then-Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein blocked the move, saying he wanted to complete his term first. Weinstein said he needed to work with Yitzhaki on outstanding items before he left and his successor, Avichai Mendelblit, took over.

Some observers also say an earlier cashiering of Yitzhaki – who was responsible for investigations into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara – would have looked bad for Alsheich.

The police, for their part, said they “don’t normally conduct their officer appointments through the media. When they occur, they will be announced to the public transparently. We want to stress that it has already been said that the attorney general doesn’t intervene in any appointment made or planned by the Israel Police at any level.”