(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
A female officer will be promoted to the rank of assistant chief – the second highest in the organization – the police announced Thursday, the day after two more senior officers had been dismissed due to sexual harassment investigations.
The officer, Cmdr. Gila Gaziel, will be the next head of the manpower branch.
Gaziel’s name has been reported over the past couple of weeks as a likely candidate to be the next female assistant chief, after Israel Police chief Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino told a cadet graduation ceremony earlier this month that “not long from now we will see many women with the rank of assistant chief (nitzav), and not long after that, a female chief of police.”
The statement came the day after he fired his second- in-command, Asst.-Ch.
Nissim Mor, after a sexual misconduct investigation was launched against him, and amid growing public criticism over the repeated sex scandals involving police commanders.
After Danino’s remarks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “perhaps the time has come to see a female national chief of police.”
News of Gaziel’s appointment came a day after the dismissal of Coastal District commander Asst.-Ch. Hagai Dotan, who stands accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
He is the eighth officer with the rank of assistant chief to be dismissed or resign over the past year and a half.
In addition to Gaziel, Tel Aviv district chief Bentzi Sau will be appointed a deputy chief, second-in-command to Danino. He will remain the head of the Tel Aviv district as well.
They are among four senior officers promoted on Thursday, including Cmdr. Shlomi Michael, who was appointed head of the Judea and Samaria district and promoted to assistant chief, and Asst.-Ch. Yaron Be’eri, who was appointed head of the national traffic police.
All four of the promotions had to gain special approval by the attorney-general ahead of the elections, the police said, adding that each of the four officers had to sign a form declaring that they had never committed any corruption or sex crimes.
Gaziel’s appointment was announced on the same afternoon that the Justice Ministry said that they questioned an officer with the rank of chief inspector, who is suspected of sexually harassing a female subordinate.
Danino said that he takes personal responsibility for the cavalcade of police officers being investigated for sexual wrongdoing, but that he does not feel compelled to resign.
“If I were to resign it would be irresponsible. Taking responsibility means sticking around to make sure the police get out of this crisis they’re in.”
Danino said that the series of scandals is a result of his efforts to bring abuse to the surface, to get it out in the open so that offending officers could be removed from the police. He said the current scandal-wracked phase will be remembered positively someday, as a time when the organization cleaned house.