Aharonovitch: Danino will be the next Israel Police chief

Appointment comes amid controversy and infighting between State Comptroller, A-G; Netanyahu expresses trust and confidence in decision.

Yochanan Danino GOOD 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Yochanan Danino GOOD 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Southern District head Cmdr. Yochanan Danino will be the next chief of the Israel Police, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch announced on Sunday at a press conference in Jerusalem.
Aharonovitch said that he hoped his decision would “bring calm and stabilize the police following recent turmoil,” referring to weeks of scandal and investigations that had frozen the selection process.
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The minister said he had consulted with experts, former police chiefs and former public security ministers before coming to his decision, which came after Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein cleared Danino of any wrongdoing in two complaints lodged against him.
Before the announcement, Aharonovitch gathered the leading candidates, Danino, Tel Aviv Police chief Cmdr.
Shahar Ayalon and Deputy Insp.-Gen. Ilan Franco in a conference room at his ministry and notified them of his decision. During the meeting, the candidates’ cellphones were reportedly taken away to prevent leaks to the media.
Aharonovitch described Danino as an able, veteran officer with rich investigative experience who is up to facing the many challenges of law enforcement in Israel.
The minister will bring his appointment before the Turkel Committee for senior appointments, in line with legal protocol.
Aharonovitch praised outgoing Insp.-Gen. David Cohen, whom he described as one of the best police chiefs in the Israel Police’s history, adding that he will “enjoy my full support until his last day of service.”
There has been tension between the two men in recent years, but they appeared to be on better terms now.
Aharonovitch did not answer questions regarding objections to Danino’s appointment lodged with the High Court of Justice recently by the Ometz good government organization.
According to the petition, Weinstein decided not to wait for the completion of a state comptroller investigation into Danino.
The court dismissed the petition on Sunday, noting that the state comptroller has until May, when Danino takes over the post, to complete his investigation.
But the unprecedented controversy surrounding the race for police chief may not end so quickly, after sources in State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss’s office criticized Weinstein for “hastily” declaring on Thursday that an investigation into Danino had cleared him of any wrongdoing.
On Saturday, a source from the Comptroller’s Office said, “The Office of the Attorney-General moved hastily [in clearing Danino]. The police chief completes his term in May, so there is time. We are looking at two complaints [into Danino], and we are working as quickly as possible. We have not completed our investigation.
“So far, we have found neither positive nor negative results pertaining to Danino’s conduct.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed support for Danino’s appointment, saying, “I trust and and am confident that Danino will lead the police forward and will act to increase enforcement, fight against violence, and strengthen the security of the citizens.”
During a press conference held jointly by Insp.-Gen.
Cohen and Danino, Cohen praised the appointment, saying he would fully cooperate with Danino and make decisions jointly with him until May.
Danino declined to comment publicly, saying only that he was heading to his family to tell them the news.