Former J'lem police chief a contender in 2008 mayoral race

Mickey Levy was passed over for the position of police chief twice in three years.

Mickey Levy 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Mickey Levy 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Passed over for the position of Israel's top cop for the second time in three years, former Jerusalem police chief Mickey Levy is now expected to enter the 2008 Jerusalem mayoral race. Levy, who was considered a top contender for Israel Police chief, lost the job to Central District Commander Dudi Cohen due to concern that Levy's close relationship with beleaguered Prime Minster Ehud Olmert could pose a hurdle to the appointment, Public Security Ministry officials said Wednesday. The explanation was seen as a conspicuous - if somewhat disingenuous - effort to smooth over any hard feelings following Public Security Minister Avi Dichter's decision to select dark horse Cohen over Levy. Levy, who did not return calls for comment Wednesday, was reported by his associates to be "hurt" and "disappointed" at his two-time loss. The 55-year-old Levy desperately sought the police chief position several years ago, only to be passed over by then-public security minister Tzahi Hanegbi, who astounded senior police brass when he appointed Moshe Karadi - a relatively young and little-known commander - as top cop over more senior police commanders. A deeply disappointed Levy, who had gained the public's attention as Jerusalem's indefatigable police chief when Palestinian suicide bombings were at their most frequent, was subsequently appointed to represent the Israel Police in Washington. The plush three-year posting was considered Levy's consolation prize and swan song before he removed his police uniform after two and half decades of police service, a term in which he faced 22 suicide bombings and suffered a heart attack. Before leaving Jerusalem three years ago, Levy made it clear that he was going to be in the running for mayor in 2008. But then, he found himself propelled to the top of the list of police chief candidates following the election victory of Olmert (a close friend from Levy's Jerusalem days), the resignation of Israel Police Chief Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi, and the recent announcement that Karadi's replacement, Israel Prison Service Chief Warden Ya'acov Ganot, had withdrawn his candidacy. In February, after Karadi announced his resignation, Dichter announced that Levy would serve as deputy police commissioner under Ganot. Once Ganot was out of the picture, Levy refused to take a deputy position under a man his junior.