Senior Israel Police Officer Keeps Job Despite Alleged Sexual Harassment

Roni Ritman, the police's anticorruption chief, allegedly spoke with a female employee in a vulgar manner.

Lahav 433 fraud investigation unit commander Maj. Gen. Roni Ritman. August 2014.
Ofer Vaknin

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich has told his anticorruption chief he can keep his job because no basis was found to further investigate claims of sexual harassment against him.

The police said Tuesday that Alsheich had received all the materials in the investigation into Maj. Gen. Roni Ritman by the Justice Ministry, including lie-detector data.

“There is no real basis to take either administrative or disciplinary steps,” the police said in a statement, adding that disciplinary steps were impossible because of the statute of limitations.

The disciplinary department of the police’s human resources branch also recommended that no steps be taken.

Still, the police said “the commissioner considers it proper to clarify the norms of conduct expected of an officer in his role and status” – an allusion to testimony by a female officer who said she witnessed Ritman talking with the complainant in a vulgar manner at a social function.

And the Justice Ministry unit that investigates police misconduct and the attorney general reportedly found the complainants’ testimony backed up by the evidence.

Ritman’s return to his unit, Lahav 433, means he will remain the commander of the woman who complained against him, and of witnesses who testified against him.

Alsheich’s ruling was based on Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein’s decision not to indict Ritman on criminal charges. Weinstein passed the material on to Alsheich for the police chief to decide whether to take steps on his own.

Nowhere in Weinstein’s statement does it say the complainant was not telling the truth, nor does it say the acts never took place.

Weinstein said he arrived at his conclusion “based mainly on the nature of the alleged acts attributed to Maj. Gen. Ritman as they are gleaned from the evidence collected and the time that has passed since the alleged incidents.”

The statute of limitations in such cases is three years, and the alleged incidents occurred in 2011.