Israel Needs a Professional, Honest Police Force, but That's Very Unlikely Under Netanyahu

Zehava Galon
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Public Security Ministry Amir Ohana greets Netanyahu.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Zehava Galon

If something surprising doesn’t happen, in the next few months we will see a criminal defendant choose the next police commissioner. He won’t do it directly, God forbid. It will be done for him by his mole in the Public Security Ministry, Amir Ohana.

It will be an ordinary day. A minor quake in the order of things. The public won’t even feel it. The results of the investigations that will be filed away in advance, no one will read. There will be a police commissioner. Everything will be done properly and according to the law. You won’t feel it.

That is, you won’t if you don’t protest. Those who are protesting feel it now. They already recognize Doron Yadid, the commander of the police’s Jerusalem District, who insisted on keeping protest leader Amir Haskel and other demonstrators out of Jerusalem, and they know he is one of the candidates for the job of commissioner.

They saw how police arrested protesters who didn’t do anything, and then the public security minister tried to falsely accuse them of blocking roads, and even released a doctored video clip to justify his claims. He never apologized. Even after the police admitted in a court hearing that Haskel didn’t block any road.

The police falsely arrested protesters against a criminal defendant and the public security minister fabricates evidence to justify the arrests. Welcome to the State of Netanyahu.

The appointment of the next police commissioner needs to be taken out of Ohana’s hands, for those same reasons that we need to take this appointment out of the hands of Benjamin Netanyahu. Ohana didn’t get his job because of his status in Likud, In the primary he came in 20th place. Ohana got his job because he is Netanyahu’s mole in the Public Security Ministry – as he served as his mole in the Justice Ministry. Professional considerations will certainly not guide him in the choice of the next police commissioner, and the senior commanders in the police understand it. They can see the results.

This is exactly the danger of having a criminal defendant as prime minister. The representative of the attorney general promised at the time that Netanyahu would have to reach a conflict of interest arrangement. It is doubtful if he believed what he was saying. The choice of Ohana for the job of public security minister made it clear what such a conflict of interest agreement is worth.

Netanyahu has a long history of conflict of interest arrangements. When he entered the Communications Ministry he “forgot” to update his conflict of interest document to note his “close friendship”, in his own words, with Shaul Elovitch. As a result of my request and the petitions filed on the matter, the attorney general decided that Netanyahu was forbidden to handle matters concerning Bezeq. It didn’t interfere with his appointing Shlomo Filber as director general of the Communications Ministry and to continue to intervene (allegedly, allegedly) in matters concerning the tycoon. The public heard about it because the police opened an investigation. It is harder to hear about investigations no one has bothered to open.

The Israeli public needs a professional, honest police force. It doesn’t have one. That is why the documentation of the shooting of Eyad Hallaq is late in coming, even though there are at least seven cameras at the scene of the incident. Police who are covering up for themselves as the result of a shooting is not a police force, certainly not a professional one. It is an armed gang with the government’s backing.

The Israel Police need an honest commissioner, not another sycophant whose status is more important to him than the country he has sworn to serve. The next police commissioner needs to be chosen by a special search committee, similar to the process of choosing an attorney general. If we fall asleep on our watch and don’t insist on it, arrests such as those of Amir Haskel will be the least of our worries.