The death of 53-year-old Haifa police head Asst.-Cmdr. Ahuva Tomer has
left the Israel Police and the city of Haifa in mourning.
Those who knew
her well say that throughout her police service, Tomer’s personal warmth and
self-effacing humor, coupled with her professionalism and absolute dedication to
the personal security of Haifa’s residents, made her one of the most esteemed
and popular police commanders in Israeli history. Tomer was modest about her
groundbreaking achievements, asking to be judged solely as a police officer. Her
determination to manage crises from the field rather than the office, as
exemplified in the Second Lebanon War, and most recently and tragically, the
Carmel fire disaster, has been held up by her commanders and subordinates alike
as model leadership conduct.
Tomer was born in 1957 in the former Soviet
Union, and immigrated to Israel with her family when she was two years old.
After completing her military service, she joined the police force in 1982, and
during her first year on the force, she was recognized by her commanders as
being “an exceptional officer,” according to Northern District police head Cmdr.
She soon successfully completed an officers’ training
course, and became a supervising officer in the Haifa Traffic Police. Tomer was
then promoted to a series of positions, including the post of operations officer
in the Haifa police station, and then operations officer for the Northern
District. She next served as the head of the patrol and intelligence bureau of
Haifa police, before being promoted to head of Nahariya police station, becoming
the first female police station head.
Tomer became deputy head of the
Haifa police station, and then, in October 2008, she became the first woman to
command a major urban police station when she was appointed head of Haifa
police. She often downplayed her accomplishments, and shortly after her history-
making appointment in 2006, she told The Jerusalem Post that she did not see the
promotion as exceptional.
“I have frequently been the first woman to hold
the position in almost all of the positions that I have held in the police,” she
explained. “I don’t feel like I’m special. I do function in a predominantly male
society, but I am an equal among equals and I try to be the best I can. But
women need to understand that this is not just a question of equality of
opportunity, but also equality of responsibility.”
Rebecca Anna Stoil
contributed to this report.