Head of Lahav 443 to step down following sexual harassment controversy

The development was announced in a brief statement from the heralded intelligence unit.

Commander Roni Ritman (photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
Commander Roni Ritman
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
Eight weeks after the High Court of Justice ruled that the police must give Lahav 433 commander Asst.-Ch. Roni Ritman a harsher rebuke for his admitted sexual harassment of a lower-ranking female officer, Ritman abruptly resigned on Tuesday.
The development was announced in a brief statement from the heralded intelligence unit.
“Roni Ritman told the police commissioner and public security minister that he will finish his term as soon as possible,” the statement read. “The minister and commissioner will act quickly to appoint a replacement and conduct an orderly overlap.”
Ritman was investigated in 2015 following an incident several years ago involving the unidentified subordinate, but then-attorney-general Yehuda Weinstein decided not to file an indictment due to “evidentiary issues.”
While Ritman admitted to making inappropriate comments to the woman, after the prosecution cleared him of criminal wrongdoing, and following a temporary suspension, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich gave him command of the elite “Israeli FBI.”
Subsequent to Ritman being given command of Lahav 433, the female victim filed a petition with the High Court arguing that an admitted sexual harasser, even without an indictment, could not serve in such a senior position, and demanded his dismissal.
Although the court did not order his dismissal, it did rule in November that Alsheich’s decision regarding Ritman was problematic, and insisted that he further discipline the Lahav 433 commander.
While it left the exact nature of the disciplinary action to Alsheich’s discretion, the High Court recommended ordering Ritman take special training to avoid future sexual harassment.
A police response indicated satisfaction that Ritman could remain at his post, while affirming that he would be expected to cooperate with further disciplinary measures.