With eight days left until the Kadima primaries, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter appears to have distanced himself from a controversial attempt to fire highly regarded Southern Police District head Cmdr. Uri Bar-Lev, saying on Tuesday that Bar-Lev had two weeks to decide whether to accept an offer to go on study leave. Bar-Lev, who is credited with a significant reduction of crime in the Southern District, was summarily dismissed by Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. David Cohen in late August after turning down Cohen's offer of a study leave, which police sources interpreted at the the time as an attempt to push Bar-Lev out of the force. On Tuesday, Dichter sent a letter to Bar-Lev's lawyer, Ya'acov Ne'eman, and to the High Court, asking Bar-Lev to make a decision on the study leave offer within 14 days. Dichter's stance was notably different from that of Cohen, who has demanded that Bar-Lev be be fired immediately for not accepting the police commissioner's authority. Last Thursday, the High Court rejected Dichter's request to delay a court session on Bar-Lev's future by three weeks - until after the Kadima primaries. The High Court is scheduled to hold a session on the issue on December 15. Bar-Lev, who holds two degrees, has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks to return to the police force and to accept Dichter's offer as a compromise, on the understanding that he could be reinstated to the force in the near future. He refused to comment on Dichter's letter Tuesday. In September, Bar-Lev appealed to the High Court against his forced leave of absence and Cohen's attempt to dismiss him.