Police Chief: Bar-Lev Investigation Has No Bearing on Search for My Replacement

Police chief: Media must not connect police chief appointment, investigation against Bar Lev over sexual harassment claims.

Police Commissioner David Cohen blamed Tuesday the media for implying a connection between the investigation against Israel's police representative to Washington regarding allegations of sexual harassment, and the selection of the next police commissioner.

police - Emil Salman - November 19 2010
Emil Salman

"The identity of the future chief of police is not in the hands of the media, and whoever thinks so is wrong," Cohen said while speaking to journalists at the Eilat Journalist Conference.

He stressed that Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the government would choose the next chief of police, "and I will hand over the police commissioner's baton to the selected commissioner."

"The attempt tie this case to the appointment of the next chief of police is a terrible mistake," Cohen said, adding that "choosing a police chief is a sensitive and a central issue, with national consequences, and there is no connection, and it must not be connected, to a different event," he added.

Maj. Gen. Uri Bar-Lev returned to Israel early on Sunday to face the sexual assault allegations recently lodged against him.

An external adviser to the Public Security Ministry has filed harassment charges against police Maj. Gen. Uri Bar-Lev, claiming he sexually assaulted her during a police conference in Eilat two years ago.

A polygraph test conducted on Sunday supported the claims made by A., as the adviser is known, in her testimony. A number of people have also testified on her behalf, include Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevi and officials, from inside and outside the Public Security Ministry.

Some of the officials said A. had told them about the alleged attack shortly after it happened and had been very upset.

Investigators reportedly consider the testimonies very significant, as they constitute verification of A.'s version of events by individuals who have no vested interest in the investigation.

Investigators expect to obtain a court order for a transcript of Bar-Lev's phone conversations with A. to check her version of events.

Bar-Lev was expected to come to Israel next week on a private visit for his daughter's induction into the army but shortened his trip expecting to be summoned for questioning.