There was no mistaking the smiles on the faces of police officers in the Northern District on Friday night after their successful pursuit of Benny Sela won them the honor of ending Israel's biggest ever manhunt. But while the officers celebrated and hoped positive headlines would help the public forget the chain of failures revealed by the Yaron Commission's report on Thursday, criticism of the police continued as Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On blasted their handling of Sela's rearrest.
From escape to recapture - Benny Sela on the run
Karadi stands by TA district head
Analysis: A wild goose chase for cops
"Nothing could be more exciting than catching this guy," St.-Sgt. Aasef Deeb, one of the officers who nabbed Sela on Friday evening, told Israel Radio.
Deeb's enthusiasm was echoed by his boss, Northern District Cmdr. Dan Ronen, who spared no words in complimenting the men and women under his command. "We did an excellent, outstanding job," he said.
Ronen's boss, Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi, also took the time to say, "We are happy the Benny Sela is in the hands of the Israel Police."
Even Karadi's boss, Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, who has recently expressed strong public criticism of the force, changed his tone to wax enthusiastic.
"I've seen the fire in their eyes," he said. "The same police officers who people had complained about, and the ones who no one had ever heard of."
But not everybody was in such a beneficent mood.
Gal-On demanded on Saturday that Dichter find out who was behind the "tasteless media circus surrounding the police capture of [Benny Sela]." Sela was shown on camera, hunched over and exhausted, being led by a team of detectives from the Tel Aviv Central Investigative Unit.
Faced with flash bulbs and sound booms, and in response to calls from the representatives of the press, a detectives seemed to force Sela to stand straight - for a second - as the prisoner cried out in pain. Sela has since complained that the detectives beat him, braking his ribs.
Gal-On said his escape still represented a serious failure on the part of the police, who shouldn't have used his capture to "degrade [Sela], no matter how loathsome he is."
Karadi told Israel Radio he intended to look into the reports that police paraded Sela in front of the media in an inappropriate manner.