Attorney-general swats away allegations of fixing police chief appointment

It has been well-known that Alsheich supported Edri and was especially opposed to Halevy as being too close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Moshe (Chico) Edri (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Moshe (Chico) Edri
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
After news reports implied that top government officials may have used conveniently-timed dirt against two candidates for police chief to the winner’s advantage, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit gave his narrative late Sunday night.
News reports have implied that current Police Chief Roni Alsheich inappropriately sabotaged the candidacies of Jerusalem District Commander Maj.-Gen. Yoram Halevy and Maj.-Gen. David Bitan in favor of retired Maj.-Gen. and eventual winning candidate, Moshe Edri, by suddenly producing damning information to Mandelblit near the end of the contest.
The reports have suggested that some of the condemnatory information may be meaningless and that it was held until the last minute so that Edri would need to be picked, given that there would not be enough time to clear the air for the other candidates.
It has been well-known that Alsheich supported Edri and was especially opposed to Halevy for being too close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In contrast, Mandelblit said the process started weeks ago before the final candidates’ names were publicized, but was appropriately kept out of the media.
His office said that Alsheich contacted his office to ask what procedure he should follow to pass on relevant information about the candidates in a way that would not appear politicized.
Mandelblit responded that he would appoint one of his deputies, Dina Zilber, to handle the issue with a special staff which would work directly with professional levels of the police so Alsheich would not be directly involved.
In this narrative, the only information passed on by police to Mandelblit’s office in recent days were answers to follow-up questions that had been posed by Zilber at an earlier date.
While this narrative would appear to clear Alsheich of some of the allegations, the fact is that even without a public announcement, he knew that Halevy was in the running.
Also, even if weeks before the decision and not days before, the eventual transfer of information could have impacted the decision in favor of Edri.
On the flip side, if Mandelblit and Zilber thought the information was completely groundless, they could have rejected it out of hand.
The whole issue carries even more significance as a similar train of events took down Brig.-Gen. (res.) Gal Hirsch in 2015, though he was later completely cleared.