(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Signaling that a recent feud within the country's police force is still going strong, The Jerusalem Post has learned that a high ranking officer at the middle of the ongoing dispute was not invited to a Rosh Hashanah toast honoring a rather extensive list of police commanders and representatives that spans the ranks and generations of the force.
Uri Bar-Lev, the Southern District Police Commander who was put on a 30-day leave of absence after his refusal to take a two-year study leave at the beginning of the month, will not be in attendance Thursday, as the country's top cops gather at an undisclosed police facility to wish each other a happy new year.
Bar-Lev made headlines earlier in the month when he refused Police Chief David Cohen's order to take two years off for additional studies. The 49-year-old Southern District Commander has two degrees - one in political science and another in engineering - and has said that a return to the university would be a waste of taxpayers' money, and that he preferred to stay in the field where he has merited monumental gains. The crime rate in Bar-Lev's district has dropped 50 percent since he took control of the Southern Command in 2005.
Although Cohen and Bar-Lev's relationship has often been strained, the current feud was sparked by a reshuffling by Cohen of police brass that is expected to go into effect in May or June. The shake-up has been marked by Cohen's desire to help out old friends such as Cmdr. Shai Amihai, head of the police's Human Resources Division, a police source said earlier this month.
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