(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
The troubled race to be the next police chief was thrown into disarray once more
on Wednesday when it emerged that a leading candidate, Southern District head
RELATED:New allegations, and doubts, surface in Bar-Lev probe New police chief to be named after Bar-Lev case closed
Yochanan Danino, is the subject of an ongoing inquiry by the state
comptroller regarding alleged negligence and an alleged cover-up over the
homicide of two police informants in 2006.
Two criminals turned police
agents – Eyal Salhov of Bnei Brak, from the Ruhan crime organization, and a
second agent from the Jarushi crime family (the top Jerusalem crime syndicate),
whose name is still being withheld, were murdered in 2006. No suspects have been
The inquiry was launched in 2009 following a complaint by a
former senior intelligence gathering officer, Dep.-Cmdr. Yisrael Abarbanel, who
alleged that police mishandled the affair, leading to the agents’ exposure and
murder, and that the episode was then whitewashed by police.
head of the police’s Investigations and Operations Branch at the time of the
After retiring from the police last year, Abarbanel sent a
letter to State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss and then-public security
minister Avi Dichter in which he accused senior officers of “irresponsible
conduct that led to the incidents.”
Abarbanel also alleged that the
police’s own inquiry of the murders was a cover-up.
A source close to
Danino told The Jerusalem Post
on Wednesday that he remained “optimistic” and
was “waiting” for further developments.
During a ceremony held to honor outstanding officers at Beit Hanassi in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening, Public
Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said, “Following consultations with the
attorneygeneral and the state comptroller, I have decided to postpone by a few
days a recommendation for the appointment of the next police chief, to allow all
the checks to proceed with full transparency, and to appoint an unblemished
It remains unclear how the minister can proceed with an
appointment anytime soon so long as Danino remains a candidate, since the
inquiry is still “at its peak,” according to a source from the State
The source added that the police’s internal inquiry
into the affair “was also being examined.”
Aharonovitch had asked
Lindenstrauss to examine his list of seven candidates to be the Israel Police’s
inspector-general on November 15, the source told the Post
, but the minister did
not indicate to Lindenstrauss that he planned to appoint one of the candidates
soon. It was unclear when the inquiry would end, the source said.
Tuesday, Aharonovitch was notified that Danino was the subject of an inquiry,
forcing him to postpone the appointment. “We were told that there is a problem
regarding one of the candidates,” a Public Security Ministry official told the
During his speech on Wednesday, Aharonovitch lamented the
developments of the past two weeks, in which former front-running candidate for
police chief Cmdr. Uri Bar- Lev was accused of sexual offenses by two women,
leading him to withdraw from the race.
“We have witnessed an episode that
has rocked the Israel Police. An episode that did not honor anyone in the police
or the country. An episode that cast a shadow on the officers of the Israel
Police, and unjustifiably so,” Aharonovitch said.
Bar-Lev, who denies all
allegations against him, was questioned again by the Police Investigations
Department on Wednesday for an hour and a half. He was not required to undergo a
polygraph test during the interrogation.