Analysis: Rediscovering the culture of responsibility

Karadi's resignation so soon after Halutz stepped down is a dramatic departure of 2 Sharon appointees.

karadi 88 (photo credit: )
karadi 88
(photo credit: )
The resignation of Police Inspector-General Moshe Karadi less than a week after IDF chief of General Staff Dan Halutz stepped down is a dramatic departure of two of the most senior appointees of the Sharon era. On the face of it, there seems little to connect the down-to-earth policeman and the elegant patrician pilot. But they do have one thing in common: Both reached the top of their particular pyramids with the clear knowledge that it wouldn't have been possible under a different administration. Halutz was the first air force chief to lead the IDF and Karadi surprised even himself by leapfrogging over an entire generation of more senior commanders to become top cop. Both knew that it wasn't only their character or talents that got them the job. More importantly, their political masters knew that and expected results accordingly. Despite rumors and conspiracy theories, the Zeiler Commission found nothing untoward in the process or motives for Karadi's speedy promotion. While deep suspicion of corruption at the lower levels of the force persists after the report, he was found guilty only of negligence. But what was left unsaid by the commission was what Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter made quite clear at his press conference a few hours later: the police just hasn't been delivering the goods for too long. The public just don't have a feeling of safety at home and on the streets, unsolved crimes are at a record high, while instead of the Fraud Squad leading the battle against corruption in high places, the crusade is being led instead by the state comptroller. As Dichter emphasized, he would have replaced Karadi anyway, but was just waiting out of courtesy to the commission. While the police are held to account every day, and indeed found sorely lacking, an army is tested only during a national emergency. We had one of those last summer and the IDF showed the same failings as the Israel Police. The army had carried out the disengagement mission impeccably and supplied results in its counter-terror mission in the territories, but its high command proved incapable of managing a full-scale war. The seeds of failure had been sown in the deliberations before Karadi's and Halutz's appointments. They weren't chosen because then Internal Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz were convinced that they were the best men to lead their forces and prepare them for future challenges; they were selected by Sharon's inner circle for their loyalty. As head of the General Security Service, Dichter was the product of a different culture, one of the last senior officials to be appointed before Sharon came to power in early 2001. He measured himself by his professional success in fighting Palestinian terror and subversion, making no allowances for power. He became convinced almost from the moment he assumed his ministerial post 10 months ago that the police he was responsible for had lost something in its professional culture. That's why he decided to take a step back and not select Karadi's successor from the raft of natural candidates, preferring instead the Prisons Service Chief Yaakov Ganot, an old experienced hand with a reputation for administration and as his deputy brought Micky Levy, out of the virtual retirement of the Police Liaison slot in Washington. Levy, disappointed at not making the top last time around, was already weighing his options in civilian life when Dichter made the call and convinced him that the service needed him. The most respected police officer in the country, who held Jerusalem together during the intifada's bitter terror offensive, heeded the call. Just like Gabi Ashkenazi, who donned his uniform and brown Golani beret once again to take care of the army's rehabilitation, and a number of other veteran generals who are being asked now to put their civilian plans on hold and pull along for another year or two, the top brass in the army and police are rediscovering the culture of responsibility.