(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Shock prevailed at National Police headquarters in Jerusalem on Monday, a day after the Zeiler Commission delivered its report blasting the force's leadership and procedures for disorganization, cronyism and a bad work ethic.
The findings lead to the resignation of Israel Police Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi, the firing of deputy Police chief Cmdr. Benny Kaniak, and the appointment of Israel Prisons Service Chief Warden Yaakov Ganot and Police Liaison in Washington Cmdr. Mickey Levy in their stead.
Kaniak's dismissal dumbfounded top police officials, who expressed surprise Monday that Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter chose to dismiss a man who was not mentioned in the report. Kaniak was a quiet, behind-the-scenes officer, and was well-liked at headquarters.
On Monday, officers close to Kaniak said he was holding off comment on Dichter's offer to take over the Prisons Service in Ganot's stead, to wait for the results of the High Court petition against Ganot's nomination.
Many top police brass appear to be taking a similar attitude following the report.
Cmdr. Ilan Franco, the Jerusalem District Police chief who was the second-highest ranking cop to be reprimanded by the commission, declined to speak in public on Monday. Although the report recommended he be passed over in the current round of nominations for the top police position, Dichter was careful to say Sunday night that he thought Franco had a "long police career" ahead of him.
Franco said he had yet to decide whether he would stay on the force. "When I am done considering, I will come to a decision. And if it is a decision worth announcing, I will announce it," he said on Monday evening.
Other reportedly disgruntled commanders, including Tel Aviv Police chief David Zur and Border Police head Hasin Faris seemed to be on the verge of handing in their badges on Monday morning, but also were apparently waiting to see how the dust settles after the High Court ruling.
With the anticipated giant police reshuffle seemingly frozen on Monday afternoon, Karadi held a meeting of senior officers to discuss the Zeiler Commission findings. The meeting was scheduled in advance of the report's publication.
Karadi took pains to portray the positive side of the report at the meeting. "We are in a crisis and we have an opportunity to make it into an opportunity," he told the brass at Tel Aviv Police headquarters. He said he chose to resign so the police could resume normal operations as quickly as possible.