(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen Roni Alsheich has appointed Dep.- Ch. Gadi Siso to head the Intelligence and Investigations Division, the police announced on Monday.
Siso’s promotion comes as Alsheich is considering defanging the division by placing the elite investigative unit Lahav 433 as directly and solely subordinate to the police commissioner.
Lahav 433 oversees political corruption investigations, including the multiple ongoing criminal investigations of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Channel 2 reported on Monday that Alsheich has already made the decision to restructure the investigative unit, while a spokeswoman for Lahav 433 told The Jerusalem Post that “no decisions have been made.”
“There is work being done to arrange the Israel Police staff. In this context, the issue of Lahav 433’s subordination is being discussed,” the spokeswoman said.
If Alsheich does follow through with the restructuring, it would mean that all major police investigations are subordinate to the police commissioner, who was appointed by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. This gives the police commissioner discretion to open and close investigations into elected officials and may curb the influence of Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to do so.
Siso, a 33-year veteran of the force, is replacing Asst.-Ch. Manny Yitzhaki, who has been a key figure in the investigations of Netanyahu. He will be leaving as head of the National Serious and International Crimes Unit, and will be promoted to the rank of assistant chief.
His appointment is due to begin at the end of 2017, following a stamp of approval from Erdan and completion of required security checks.
According to a police source, the appointment was greeted with applause at the Lahav 433 headquarters in Lod. “He [Siso] is professional and has years of experience in investigations and intelligence,” the source said. “I think this is the right decision for the police.”
Siso was instrumental in Case 512, one of the largest organized crime busts in Israel’s history, in 2015.
Five other appointments were also announced on Monday: Asst.-Ch.
David Bitan as Tel Aviv district commander; Asst.-Ch. Moti Cohen as southern district commander; Dep.-Ch Peretz Omer as coastal district commander, Dep.-Ch. Ami Eshed as central district commander, and Dep.-Ch.
Avshalom Peled as head of national headquarters. Omer, Eshed and Peled will be promoted to rank of assistant chief.