President Reuven Rivlin and Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheich meet with honorees on February 27th, 2018..
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
The annual citations ceremony of the Public Security Ministry was held at the President’s Residence on Tuesday, where 29 heroes from different units that come under the aegis of the ministry were honored.
The ministry is primarily responsible for public security, law enforcement and corrections. It also oversees the Prison Service, the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority, the Israel Anti-Drug and Alcohol Authority and the Witness Protection Authority.
In a video presentation on the various departments that come within the orbit of public security, there was a member of the police force who takes care of people in the witness protection program both in Israel and abroad, where the witness may be living under a false identity.
His face was deliberately blurred in the film, and he was called to the stage by his first name only, although he did pose for photos.
Almost everyone else was called up by their full name. Of the 29 honorees, three were female. One of them had spent three-and-a-half hours outside a locked door talking to a would-be suicide who was eventually dissuaded from taking her life.
Rivlin, who had read the personal stories of all 29 honorees, singled out three, the first of whom was “D.M.” – a member of the special counterterrorism unit who has participated in numerous operations, and has been involved in many armed struggles. He was the sole exception who was not named.
He was referred to by President Reuven Rivlin and by Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheikh solely by his initials, D.M. – and yet a full face photograph of him standing with Alsheikh and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan was released by the President’s Spokesman’s office.
In the summer of 2015, he was severely injured, and underwent a series of surgeries. Nonetheless, during a very complex rehabilitation process, he insisted on returning to his unit and fully participating in every emergency situation.
On January 17, while on an operation in Jenin where he and others were trying to trap the killer of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, one of D.M.’s colleagues suffered life threatening injuries. Being also a paramedic, he administered on-the-spot emergency treatment. Turning to him, Rivlin said: “There is no doubt that what you did in the field saved his life. It’s because of you that he’s still with us.”
RIVLIN ALSO SPOKE of fireman Idan Tsabar who entered a blazing apartment and saved the lives of a mother and daughter at the risk of his own life.
In a similar case, Oshri Maman heard a report of a fire in Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina neighborhood, rushed to the scene, entered the burning house and combed it thoroughly for a sign of life. He heard children crying, went in the direction of the sound and rescued two toddlers aged three and four.
Rivlin said that the stories of the other outstanding honorees were no less riveting and filled with courage and a sense of mission.
The sense of mission concept was repeated by Erdan and Alsheikh.
“Without a strong professional police force and prison service, we would not be able to continue, because they guarantee our security,” said Eldan.
Indicating the people seated behind him on side stages, Erdan said: “You are the bridge between the police and the public and you often perform your tasks in the face of great personal danger.”
He then read out a long list of challenges that confront the police on a daily basis. Taking note of the fire and rescue heroes as well, Erdan said: You represent strong national organizations.” He also underscored that “terrorism threatens us from afar and from close up,” and the police are there to thwart it.
“The police can’t do their job without the support and confidence of the public,” said Alsheikh, adding that the police deal with the most sensitive of social and community issues. When they are engaged in life saving operations, every second is critical, he said.
Regardless of the numerous breakthroughs that can be credited to the police, Alsheikh said that without constant self-examination, “we would not be able to accomplish what we have achieved.”
Though aware that policemen and women are dedicated individuals, Alsheikh also made allowance for the fact that police, like anyone else, can have occasional moments of self-doubt. “Every policeman has to remember that he’s doing something that perhaps someone else can’t do,” said Alsheikh. “Every one of these outstanding men and women has contributed to the effectiveness of the police.”