After an exhaustive search, over a month of training in the midst of multiple terrorist attacks, and a poorly-timed fall that broke his leg, Roni Alsheich was sworn in as the 18th Police Commissioner in Jerusalem on Thursday.
Alsheich began his day at an official swearing-in ceremony at the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, followed by a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin at his residence in Jerusalem and a visit to the Western Wall.
During his meeting with Rivlin, the president told Alsheich that he was heading one of the most important networks in the country, and declared that the Israeli public owes a great deal to the police, which he said is “a fantastic police force – even today when it is beset with scandals.”
Alsheich addressed his officers during a mid-day ceremony at the National Headquarters of the Israel Police in Jerusalem, attended by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and current and former police brass.
The former deputy head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) focused his remarks on the “Stabbing Intifada” and the terrorism threats facing Israel and countries across the region, saying “What we see happening in Israel in recent weeks and what the world is going through since the Arab Spring, presents security threats that the police have to face on a daily basis.”
Alsheich said that the security threats facing Israel will not go way any time soon, and that in the meantime, the police “must be there for citizens to help them in their daily lives, not only with security issues, or in the undercover world of fighting crime, also in helping them solve daily problems.”
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan’s remarks at the event focused on global terrorism. “The wave of terrorism we are facing is also hitting other countries, as we saw with the difficult events in France. Our police deal with terrorism on a daily basis and our home front is on the front lines of this war.
The State of Israel’s ability to face exterior threats doesn’t rest only on the IDF; it also leans on the police and strong emergency services,” he said.
Erdan said that Alsheich and the Israel Police will, in the coming years, face the challenge of restoring public trust, following a series of highly-publicized scandals – including a series of sex scandals – involving top police commanders.
A day before Alsheich was supposed to be sworn in at a ceremony in mid-November, he slipped and fell outside his home in Givat Shmuel, breaking his leg.
The accident was a rather inauspicious start for the man tasked with repairing an organization beset by scandal and facing a host of security issues, as well as rampant firearm violence in the Arab sector, lethal organized crime families and allegations of brutality and discrimination from a number of minority communities.
Just last week, Asst.-Ch. Roni Ritman, the head of the prestigious Lahav 433 police unit, was named as the subject of a sexual misconduct allegation.
Alsheich’s appointment also comes after more than two months in which police have been on the front lines of combating terrorist attacks, including almost daily stabbings.
The cabinet approved Alsheich in early October. The 52-year-old religious father of seven formerly lived in a West Bank settlement and was a commander in the IDF’s Paratrooper Brigade. He has held a series of command positions in the Shin Bet, and was in recent years known for helping implement a number of technological advances in the organization.