A scandal is brewing in the Israel Police that could shake the organization to its core.
The case is still under a gag order and the details of it have not been reported in the Israeli press. Nonetheless, on Friday morning the police commented for the first time on reports of the looming disgrace.
“Beginning last night [Thursday] we are seeing reports in different outlets with headlines and hints that besmirch the 30,000 officers who work day and night for the security of the citizens of Israel, without giving us the possibility of responding to the issue.”
The statement, issued by the Israel Police Spokesman’s Office, said that “it would be fitting to wait and not publish baseless reports and speculation”, adding that the reports are meant to hurt police and Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino.
Though the details of the case cannot be published at the moment, it could stand to shake up the police leadership, coming following a long list of highly publicized scandals on Danino’s watch. The scandal comes amid major public criticism of police for the mishandling of an emergency dispatch call placed by Gil-ad Shaer on the night of his kidnapping and subsequent murder, after which police held an internal probe and removed four officers from their posts.
Also this past year, there was the highly publicized collapse of the Bar Noar murder case, one of the flagship investigations for Israel police, the scandal involving allegations that the former head of the Lahav 433 – Serious and International Crime Unit took bribes from Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, in addition to a string of underworld car bombings and murders that led to public and media criticism of the police’s ability to tackle organized crime.
Danino found himself facing a new controversy on Saturday night, when Ynet reported discrepancies in his official story about where he had been when the kidnapping took place. Danino was in the United States on Thursday, June 12, when the kidnapping occurred, and only came back on Saturday night. Police had said that he was attending a major conference in New York for police chiefs around the world, but that conference actually takes place annually in October.
Instead, according to Ynet, Danino was at a much lesser-known police conference in San Francisco.