Dichter's familiar new broom

Chief Warden Yaakov Ganot, the newly appointed police inspector-general, has long been the Internal Security Ministry's point man for successful organization within the police force, and cleaning up departments that have suffered serious blows to their public image. In that sense, it is perhaps not terribly surprising that Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter would think of the Romanian-born father of two to be the spearhead leading the "cleaning-up" of the Israel Police. Ganot, a father of two, was born in 1947, and immigrated to Israel at age 16. Slightly over a year later, he enlisted in the Border Police, where he remained for the next 16 years. In the Border Police, he held every field rank possible, from platoon commander to assistant commander of the Jerusalem Border Police before being transferred to the "blue" police. During his service with the Border Police, he was wounded and lost an eye on the Lebanese border, while he was rescuing wounded comrades on the battlefield. In 1980, Ganot joined the Israel Police, first as the operations officer and then as the assistant commander for the Amakim Subdistrict. He moved slightly north to command the Galilee Subdistrict, and then became assistant commander and in 1993 commander of the Northern District. It was in that position, in 1994, that his career hit a stumbling block when he was tried for bribery-related offenses involving the Tanus brothers of Nazareth. Although he was found not guilty in the trial, the DA's office appealed the case to the Supreme Court. Although the Supreme Court sharply reprimanded his behavior, he was allowed to continue in the police, but restricted by then-Internal Security Minister Avigdor Kahalani from holding "central or command" positions. In 1996, he was made the first police representative in the anti-terror unit. A year later, Kahalani's recommendation was already disregarded when Ganot was chosen to establish the Israel Police's Traffic Division, and became its first commander. Following the events of October 2000, he was called back to his "home," the Border Police, to help restore the organization following the scandals surrounding the violent confrontations in Wadi Ara. Two years later, Ganot was called on once again - this time by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to establish a new branch of the police force, the Immigration Authority, which he led until he left to oversee an era of growth, change and increased professionalism in the IPS, which he led from 2003 until the present.