karadi hands out 298.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Police Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi expressed concern on Monday that the police force would be drawn into the elections and used by political parties as a campaign tool against their opponents.
"The way the police handles itself during the elections needs to be with the utmost caution and sensitivity," Karadi told reporters following a ceremony at National Police Headquarters on Monday. "Some people might try and use us to dig up dirt [against their opponents] during the election campaigns."
Last week Karadi convened his senior staff to discuss police preparations for the elections. Karadi appointed outgoing Yarkon Police chief Aharon Ezra as head of a task force that will deal with election related crimes such as incitement and public disorder.
"It is still too early to tell how things will play out," the police chief said. "But we have set guidelines which include emphasizing intelligence gathering to assist us in foreseeing what will happen."
Karadi called on all of the different political parties to obey the law and to maintain public order during campaign rallies.
The top police brass gathered at police headquarters in Jerusalem on Monday for a ceremony in honor of the appointment of Cmdr. Benny Kaniak - chief of police in the Central District - as the new deputy police commissioner. Karadi, who took office in August 2004, never appointed a deputy.
Police said he recently decided to appoint Kaniak to the post to assist him in implementing widespread reforms he plans to initiate throughout the force, including the cancellation of most of the police departments and the creation of three major police branches.
Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra, who has joined Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Kadima Party, said he was confident the election period would pass quietly and calmly.
"The differences between the political parties are not as big as they used to be," Ezra said. "These elections will be less extreme and create less rifts throughout the nation as opposed to if they been held before the disengagement [from the Gaza Strip]."
As to the investigation of senior ministers, including Likud Minister Tzahi Hanegbi and Sharon, Ezra said he was uncomfortable with politicians under investigation but that people are innocent until proven guilty.
"I would prefer that there weren't these investigations," he said. "I can only hope that they will end in the near future."