Security service bigwig to head Israel Police


(JTA) — Following the torpedoing of a retired general’s nomination to head the Israel Police, the Cabinet announced that it would appoint the No. 2 man of the Shin Bet security agency to the position.

Interior Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced on Friday the nomination of the new candidate, whose full name is subject to censorship because of his Shin Bet role.

The appointment came at the end of a protracted debate in the media and elsewhere about the suitability of Erdan’s first pick, Gal Hirsch.

Several bereaved parents protested the appointment of Hirsch, whom Erdan said in August is best equipped to rehabilitate the Israel Police after a string of scandals involving corruption, sexual harassment and alleged racism.

The opponents cited perceived failures in Hirsch’s performance as brigadier general during the 2006 war in Lebanon against Hezbollah. In parallel, Israel’s attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, requested that Hirsch provide documents pertaining to proceeds he earned while consulting abroad, including in the Caucasus nation of Georgia, after his resignation from the Israel Defense Forces.

On Wednesday, Hirsch withdrew his candidacy as coalition lawmakers accused the media and the attorney general of torpedoing the nomination to damage the image of Erdan and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Our appointments process is long, arduous and damaging, and undoubtedly deserves reexamination,” Netanyahu said in a statement Wednesday about Hirsch, adding that “Gal Hirsch is the right man for the post of Police Commissioner; I thought so then and I think so now.”

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