(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
Feuding police commanders competing for the post of inspector-general are
harming the name of the Israel Police, Public Security Minister Yitzhak
Aharonovitch said on Saturday evening.
RELATED:Bar-Lev to face sexual harassment probe
These were his first official
comments addressing a sexual harassment complaint that rocked the police force
and led to the temporary suspension of the race for position of police chief
last week by Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein.
The minister said that
he would not tolerate a prolonged freeze of the race for the top police post,
adding that that if the current impasse in the selection process continues, he
would simply appoint a police commissioner of his choosing.
intrigue and improper sexual relations between the woman at the heart of the
investigation into Cmdr. Uri Bar-Lev, currently the Israel Police attaché in
Washington, and another leading police chief candidate – who is considered his
bitter rival – continued to circulate around the media over the
The News First Class website even suggested that the woman
attempted to persuade cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser to act on behalf of Bar-Lev’s
rival and help ensure that he was awarded the position.
That report was
denied on Saturday by the Prime Minister’s Office, which said in a statement
that Hauser “never had any dealings... or conversations with the prime minister
or any other source on the post of police inspector-general, either directly or
The woman’s lawyer said the report was
“We refuse to act as a chess piece on the board of rumors and
gossip,” the Public Security Ministry said on Saturday, as the reports continued
Bar-Lev, who is a front running candidate to become next
inspector-general, is reportedly scheduled to return to Israel in the coming
days to face questioning over the complaint.
Other senior police
commanders are set to also be questioned, according to various
But a Justice Ministry source told The Jerusalem Post on
Saturday that the media “is filled with disinformation” about the investigation.
“We are maintaining a full media blackout. No one knows what we are doing. A lot
of nonsense is appearing in the press,” the source said.
have linked the current crisis to an ongoing and bitter feud between Bar- Lev
and outgoing Police Insp.- Gen. David Cohen. In August 2008, Bar-Lev was
summarily dismissed by Cohen after he turned down an offer of a study leave,
which was interpreted by police sources at the time as an attempt to push Bar-
Lev out of the force.
In April 2009, Aharonovitch reinstated Bar-Lev into
the force and appointed him a police attaché – a decision which has permanently
soured ties between Aharonovitch and Cohen. Now, some commentators have
suggested that Cohen helped persuade the woman to lodge a complaint against his
old foe – a suggestion denied by sources close to the inspector- general.