JERUSALEM (Nov. 7)
Gen. (res.) Herzl Shapir, a 50-year-old career army officer who was once a candidate for the post. of Chief of Staff, has been named Inspector General of the Israeli Police and will replace the incumbent, Haim Tavori, in January. His appointment was approved by the Cabinet last Sunday but was greeted with mixed reactions in senior police circles.
Objections were voiced by some who saw the selection of an army officer to be Israel’s top law enforcement official as a rebuff to those who have made the police their career and worked their way up to senior positions. But the consensus among the police, expressed by one ranking officer, was “Let’s give him a chance. There is a lot of work to be done.” Some observers said that the first appointment of a senior police officer from outside police ranks reflected widespread public dissatisfaction with the functioning of the police under its present command.
Shapir, a widower and father of three sons was born and educated in Israel and has been in the army since the War for Independence in 1948. He was commander of the tank carps in the mid-sixties and in 1974 he headed the Israeli military team at the separation of forces talks in Geneva after the Yom Kippur War.
He served as commander of the southern front from 1976-78 and later spent a year at the University of California in Stanford. He was under serious consideration to replace retiring. Gen. Mordechai Gur as Chief of Staff earlier this year but Defense Minister Ezer Weizman selected Gen. Rafael Eitan instead.