Ex-J'lem police chief to join Labor

Amit throws hat in ring to combat 'sick' society with Peretz.

In a rare move for a senior police officer, former Jerusalem District Police Chief Aryeh Amit announced his candidacy on Wednesday for the Knesset as a new member of the Labor Party under the leadership of Amir Peretz. The acquisition of Amit highlights the Labor Party's "social revolution," Peretz told reporters at party headquarters Wednesday afternoon, and puts the issue of the seemingly growing crime wave in Israel at the forefront of his election campaign. "With Amit I see that a solution to organized crime exists," Peretz said. "The fight on crime fits in with our social ideas. Crime and violence are anti-social illnesses. Having scared children is not healthy for our society and today we are receiving one of the most reliable characters in Israeli society." Amit, who served as a security consultant for the US government after finishing his three-year stint as head of the Jerusalem Police in the late 1990s, has been active in recent years in leading several government-initiated anti-crime plans. Most recently he served as the head of a committee established to combat nightclub violence. "Personal security is very important for people," Amit, who also served as the head of the police's Operations Department, said while sitting next to Peretz. "Traveling throughout the country, I have noticed that many people are hurting and today it is very difficult to find people who feel protected from crime and violence." Later, Amit told The Jerusalem Post that "Israeli society has become sick. "It has already reached the level that it is dangerous. Security is not just about negotiations with the Palestinians or threats from Iran but it is no less about a person's personal security." Peretz, the former police chief added, was leading a "real social revolution" that he could not ignore. While Amit joined a long list of public figures who have thrown their hats in the political arena over the past week, his decision was of particular interest to senior officers at the National Police Headquarters in Jerusalem who noted that he was the first police officer in recent years to go into politics. "It is a field that is usually reserved for military generals," one officer cynically remarked. "Us police officers usually stay away since we know how much dirt there really is in politics."