Avi Dichter's intended transition from respected head of the Shin Bet to would-be stellar cabinet minister was sullied almost from the start. As minister for internal security, in early 2007 he declared that he could find no worthy successor to Israel Police inspector-general Moshe Karadi from within the ranks and thus would go outside to appoint a new chief. But his attempts to appoint the outgoing Prisons Service head and various Shin Bet and IDF ex-officers all failed, and Dichter was forced sheepishly back to the existing police leadership, selecting David Cohen. On Sunday, Dichter compounded that unhappy appointment by backing Cohen and announcing that he intends to require one of the best and brightest of senior officers to leave the force for no good reason and plenty of bad ones. Charismatic and highly regarded, Southern District chief Cmdr. Uri Bar-Lev helped smooth the trauma of the 2005 disengagement and has overseen a drastic fall in crime. His very success in a job that Cohen once filled is the cause of his downfall - the police commissioner is apparently jealous. Cohen wanted to send Bar-Lev on (unnecessary) study leave. Bar-Lev refused. Cohen then announced that Bar-Lev would be leaving the force. Bar-Lev said he was doing no such thing. On Sunday minister Dichter made his choice. He backed the commissioner who has no justification for dismissing a fine officer and said he is set to approve Bar-Lev's ouster, pending a hearing. Dichter's fig-leaf is to claim that Bar-Lev does not respect the police hierarchy. But respect must be earned, and when the men at the top act out of narrow spite and weakness, they lose it. It is not Uri Bar-Lev who should be leaving the police, but his boss, Cohen - along with the former tough security chief, Dichter, who has so dismally capitulated and failed to protect an admirable cop.