The police commissioner, Yohanan Danino, is very sensitive about public relations. So sensitive that in the year he has served in the post, he has managed to change the police spokesman several times. It suffices to glance at the Facebook page of the Israel Police to understand how Danino wants to be seen by the public. In one picture, Danino is seen hugging the fighters of the police's special forces unit, their faces blurred, with a fatherly smile. In another, the empathetic Danino is seen sitting at the police 100 telephone hotline, wearing earphones and listening intently to the citizenry. In a different picture, he's acting chummy with the winner of the Tour de France, Alberto Contador, who paid a visit to police headquarters, while behind them is the portrait of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Danino is not too fond of criticism. When he is criticized, particularly by journalists, he generally responds with a mixture of insult and aggressiveness. However, since he began his term as police chief, the police have not uncovered even one corruption scandal among the high and mighty. One could get the mistaken impression that the dangerous dance between those who give bribes and those who receive them no longer exists here, that government tenders are no longer fixed for cronies, that the politicians have closed their secret bank accounts on islands of refuge, and that the vote contractors have stopped receiving huge benefits from the government. If this continues, then in two years' time, when Danino completes his term of duty, he will be able to say that during his tenure, government corruption withered and died.
Danino's policemen no longer go after the government with intensity, but they show great dedication in going after its opponents, as the doctors who tended to the wounds of the demonstrators in Tel Aviv last weekend will no doubt testify, as did Judge Tzahi Uziel, who rejected the embarrassing request from the police to extend the protesters' remand until the end of proceedings.
PR chief Danino was not present at Rothschild Boulevard or Gan Ha'Ir when his subordinates were whaling on the demonstrators. At the beginning of the week, the divine voice could be heard coming from his direction, saying that already in the initial discussions about the renewal of last summer's protest, police sources assessed that this time it would be a "social revolt," not merely a demonstration for "social justice."
These kinds of working assumptions generally end with injuries and arrests. "The violent demonstrations in Tel Aviv at the end of the week were not a popular protest but rather a planned series of violent violations of the law," the sociologist in uniform determined later, and he promised to personally look into the events and draw the necessary conclusions. In truth, there is no danger that Danino will draw the necessary conclusions from these events - and dismiss from their posts the commander of the Tel Aviv police district, Aharon Aksol, and the commander of the Yarkon region, Yoram Ohayon.
From many perspectives, Danino is a hero of our times - yet another expression par excellence of the Netanyahu era. An era in which a parade of official watchmen was lined up - characters who do not consider it their duty to place limitations on the government and constantly struggle against the powerful and well-connected. This parade is headed by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, who is concluding two and a half unimpressive years in that position, during which he did not wage even one battle over ethical behavior at the top, or hold even one resounding moral confrontation with the government and Knesset, which are trying to take bites out of the shrinking apple of Israeli democracy.
This sorry parade will soon be joined by a new watchman - the state comptroller, attorney Yosef Shapira, who was given an entrance test at the home of his central object of inquiry, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, being elected by the members of the Knesset.
Someone is picking these people with a pair of fine tweezers. Someone is trying to interfere with the work of the immune system.