New Police Commissioner's Appointees Disappoint Those Hoping for Reform

Under Roni Alsheich's auspices, only two senior positions will be filled by men from outside the police force, and some controversial commanders are being allowed to remain in their posts.

Police Chief Roni Alsheich in Karmiel, January 5, 2016.
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Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich announced a round of top appointments Wednesday that left those hoping for a real shake-up or change of direction in the Israel Police disappointed. Only two senior positions will be filled by men from outside the police force, and some controversial commanders are being allowed to remain in their posts.

Southern District Commander Maj. Gen. Yoram Halevy will be the next Jerusalem district police commander, replacing Moshe Edry, who will become police chief in Tel Aviv, where Maj. Gen. Bentzi Sau is retiring after serving for several months as acting police commissioner.

Edry, who as Jerusalem commander was reprimanded for the force’s failures surrounding the murder of Shira Banki at the capital’s Gay Pride Parade last summer, will be returning to Tel Aviv, a district he knows well, having served as commander of both the Yarkon and Yiftah subdistricts.

Halevy, a Jerusalem native and the longest-serving major-general on the force, had been considered a candidate for police commissioner and then deputy police commissioner, and it was thought he might resign when he received neither post, but instead he has agreed to accept his fifth assignment as major general. He is being replaced in the Southern District by Maj. Gen. David Bitan, currently head of the logistical support branch.

After naming Maj. Gen. Zohar Dvir, the former Northern District commander, as his deputy at the end of November, Alsheich announced that he is being replaced by Brig. Gen. Alon Assur, who will be promoted to major-general. This appointment is raising eyebrows since Assur has never served in a substantial command position; he is currently commander of the Israel Police Academy in Beit Shemesh, while his most recent command post was at the Petah Tikva police station.

The Judea and Samaria district will be headed by Brig. Gen. Moshe Bareket, who will be promoted to major-general. Bareket is replacing Maj. Gen. Shlomi Michael, who is retiring. Bareket has been serving as an adviser to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan since Erdan assumed the position.

The police operations branch will be headed by Brig. Gen. Alon Levavi, who will assume the post in June and be promoted to major-general. He will be replacing Maj. Gen. Aharon Aksel, who is retiring. Levavi was the police spokesman under former Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino for several years. Danino came under frequent criticism during that period for being led by the nose by his spokespeople. Levavi was then appointed deputy Southern District police chief and he currently serves as deputy Central District chief.

Brig. Gen. Yaakov Shabtai will be the new Border Police chief and be promoted to major-general. Shabtai is currently commander of the large Sharon subdistrict.