Police chief summoned to Knesset over hints that Netanyahu hired private eyes

Alsheikh confirms he'll attend the meeting on the topic of “examining the way the police is conducting the prime minister’s investigations.”

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Knesset Interior Committee summoned Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheich to a discussion regarding his remarks implying there were attempts to obstruct Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s investigation.
The meeting is to be held Wednesday, the day before the police is expected to announce recommendations on the premier’s cases.
In a statement released Tuesday, committee chairman Yoav Kisch (Likud) announced that the meeting “will examine the way the police are conducting the prime minister’s investigations.” According to the statement, Alsheich will attend the discussion.
In the investigative TV show Uvda last Wednesday, Alsheich hinted that Netanyahu has sent private investigators to collect information against the detectives handling his cases.
Knesset State Control Committee chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich (Zionist Union) accused Kisch of “abusing the Knesset’s power.”
“This is an attempt to create a threatening atmosphere towards the police and humiliate it a moment before the recommendations, to show the commissioner ‘who’s the boss’ and ingratiate himself to the prime minister,” she said.
The State Control Committee is the only Knesset panel with subpoena power, meaning that Alsheich is not obligated to show up to the Interior Committee meeting.
Zionist Union faction chairman Yoel Hasson called Kisch “the scarecrow in the Interior Committee that is managed by the prime minister.”
“The rule of law and maintaining the police’s independence don’t interest Kisch… This is a trap,” Hasson said.
Kisch, however, accused opposition MKs of populism and said that he is “fulfilling [his] parliamentary responsibility as the head of the committee that oversees the police.
“It’s unfortunate that for headlines and petty politics, they’re ignoring the Knesset’s job and responsibility,” Kisch said.
Last week, Alsheich said that “very powerful figures” sent private investigators to collect information on police officers involved in the Netanyahu cases and their families.
Since then, Netanyahu led an ongoing offensive against the police on social media, an apparent attempt to discredit the recommendations in his cases, expected to be released on Thursday. He repeatedly denied sending private investigators to spy on police officers.
Netanyahu said: “The most important question remains: Would you trust the recommendations that would be submitted by investigators that think that you are acting against them?”
Police’s recommendations in both Case 1000 (the “gifts affair”) and Case 2000 (the “Yediot Aharonot affair”) are expected to be announced by Thursday.
After Alsheich’s interview aired, several MKs asked Kisch to summon him to the Interior Committee.
Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich said, “Whoever cares about the State of Israel should not sleep well at night in light of what was said... I think the Knesset, which is responsible for overseeing the executive branch, cannot sit silently in light of what is happening, and I ask that the Knesset discuss it,” Likud MK Miki Zohar said Alsheich’s comments made him doubt the integrity of the investigation.
“On the one hand, if we believe police investigators that the prime minister or his associates acted against them personally and sent private investigators to follow them, how can they continue investigating [Netanyahu] and submit recommendations in an objective, unbiased way?” Zohar asked. “On the other, if there are people hostile to the prime minister who want him removed at any price, could it be that they put pressure on the investigators to accuse the prime minister at any price?”