Erdan appealing decision to disqualify police chief

Cabinet to vote on interim chief but has majority for Edri

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan will ask the government committee that approves appointments of high-ranking officials on Sunday to reconsider its decision to not approve the candidacy of Moshe “Chico” Edri as the next chief of the Israeli Police.
Erdan will ask the committee, headed by former Supreme Court justice Eliezer Goldberg to let him appear and make the case for Edri. If the committee turns down his request, he will bring Edri's candidacy to the cabinet, where there is a majority to approve it.
Meanwhile, the cabinet will vote Sunday to approve the appointment of Southern District Police Commander Moti Cohen as interim police chief for up to 45 days in place of current chief Roni Alsheich, whose term ends Monday night. Cohen is the brother of former police chief Dudi Cohen.
If the cabinet approves Edri despite the Goldberg Committee's recommendations against him, the Movement for Quality Government will challenge the decision in the Supreme Court. Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit would then have to decide whether to defend the decision on the government's behalf.
Channel 1 reported that Mandelblit supported Edri's appointment and was surprised by the decision to reject it but that he would strongly consider not defending the government in court on the matter.
Erdan called the Goldberg Committee's decision "illogical and extremely unreasonable." He expressed outrage that the committee made the decision after he passed a polygraph test.
Two of the committee members voted against the appointment and two voted in favor. When there is a tie, the chairman of the committee receives the final say. In this case, Goldberg voted against Edri's appointment.
The committee said that it decided to disqualify Edri due to a meeting he held with an attorney representing one of the people who filed a complaint to the committee against his appointment. The meeting took place just days before Edri was scheduled to meet with the committee. It also cited a state comptroller's report about Edri cancelling six speeding tickets of a border police commander.
Erdan said the committee made the decision based on "gossip" and that he had no problem with Edri meeting the attorney. The decision was a political blow to Erdan, who also failed three years ago to pass his choice for police chief, former IDF brigadier general Gal Hirsch.
"I wont let a high ranking security officer who served his entire life be disqualified for a second time by a public committee," Erdan sai.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked supported Erdan's decision and said she and Bayit Yehudi ministers would vote for Edri's appointment in the cabinet.
"It is the government that appoints, not the committee," she said.  
But opposition leader Tzipi Livni, who is a former justice minister, said Edri cannot be allowed to become police chief.
"A government that cares about ethics and law enforcement is supposed to abide by the recommendations of the committee it appointed," she said. "I have nothing against him personally but I want to know the police chief is clean."
Zionist Union faction head Yoel Hasson called upon Erdan to quit, saying that "A public security minister who cannot succeed in appointing a police chief must resign."
Eran Globus, chairperson of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, also commented on the committee's vote.
"The arbiter of power and arrogance of Minister Erdan has not succeeded in defeating the truth," Globus said.
Globus opposed Edri's appointment because Edri was the commander of the Jerusalem Police during the murder of Shira Banki, the teenage girl who was killed during the gay pride parade in 2015.