Dichter settles for Dudi Cohen as next police inspector-general

Public Security Minister Avi Dichter said Tuesday afternoon that Central District head Cmdr. Dudi Cohen is his candidate to be the Israel Police's next inspector-general. Dichter presented Cohen's nomination to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who complimented the choice. Cohen will have to be approved by the Advisory Committee on Senior Civil Service Appointments - the Terkel Commission - and by the cabinet, to become the 16th inspector-general of the Israel Police. A 30-year police veteran, Cohen was viewed as a dark-horse candidate. Dichter's first choice was Israel Prisons Service Chief Warden Ya'acov Ganot, who withdrew his candidacy when it appeared the Terkel Commission was going to reject it. After Ganot removed himself from the race, Dichter combed the ranks of former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and IDF officers, including Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog, but was turned down by all whom he approached. Cmdr. Mickey Levy, Dichter's original choice to serve as the deputy chief of police, also recently requested that his candidacy be dropped. Legal experts reportedly told Dichter that Levy, who was also above Cohen on Dichter's list for potential police chiefs, was unlikely to be approved because of his close friendship with Olmert. Tel Aviv District chief Cmdr. David Tzur was ruled out because of the escape of serial rapist Benny Sela in November, and Jerusalem District head Cmdr. Ilan Franco was barred from consideration by the Zeiler Commission's findings. Officials in Dichter's office said the minister was planning the transfer of command from current Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi and Cohen for May 1. Karadi said more than a month ago that he would step down on May 1, but that became uncertain when Ganot withdrew his name in late March. Dichter said Northern District chief Cmdr. Shahar Ayalon would become deputy police chief. He has only been in his current position for two weeks, after replacing retiring Cmdr. Dan Ronen, and formerly led the Traffic Division. The choice of Ayalon was made by Dichter following a conversation with Cohen. Dichter once again expressed his respect for departing police chief Karadi, "for the manner in which he has continued in the role of chief inspector for a month since he announced his resignation." He complimented the departing chief for ensuring a smooth transition and refraining from further damaging the police's image through mudslinging and allegations. Karadi congratulated Cohen on his nomination, and described him as "deserving and professional." Dichter also said he was extremely sorry for the personal discomfort caused to Ganot, and hinted that he should be compensated with a position in the civil service. "The minister is certain that the State of Israel will know how to compensate Ganot for years of devoted and unique activity for the sake of the country throughout the 42 years of his service," Dichter said in the statement announcing Cohen's nomination.