Knesset calls on Dichter to reconsider appointment of whistleblower cop Ehrlich to Hebron subdistrict

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss informs committee he'll be conducting an examination of senior police appointments in the near future.

Dichter 88 (photo credit: (Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post) )
Dichter 88
(photo credit: (Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post) )
The Knesset Interior Affairs Committee and the Knesset State Control Committee on Monday jointly called on Public Security Minister Avi Dichter to reconsider the decision to appoint Dep.-Cmdr. Ephraim Ehrlich deputy commander of the police's Hebron Subdistrict instead of promoting him. The committee chairmen and several MKs charged that Ehrlich was being sent into "deep freeze" as punishment for having divulged information leading to the establishment of the government-appointed Zeiler Commission into the "Perinian affair." The committee investigated the relations between three underworld figures and Dep.-Cmdr. Yoram Levy, who served as head of the Central Unit in the Southern Police District; the failure of the police to protect state's witness Pinhas Buhbout; and the failure of the prosecution to reach a plea bargain with Buhbout's killer, Tzahi Ben-Or, who wanted to testify against the Perinians. The committee's conclusions led to the resignation of Police Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi and a police investigation against Levy. "We are deeply concerned," said Knesset State Control Committee chairman Zevulun Orlev (NU-NRP) at the end of the meeting. "Ehrlich's appointment is interpreted even within the police department and among the public as revenge for events that occurred." Knesset Interior Affairs Committee Chairman Ophir Paz-Pines said, "We want a police that encourages excellency. We expect policemen to have integrity so that when they see misdeeds or corruption, they speak out and sound the alert. These people should not be punished, they should be given a medal." According to Aryeh Eldad (NU-NRP), "Appointing Ehrlich deputy commander of the Hebron police subdistrict is an insult. The entire police force is laughing and the officers get the message that there is no point in tangling with the higher ups. They learn that the corrupt ones are more powerful than they." Dichter said the procedure in which Ehrlich had been appointed to his new job, after heading the central unit of the Traffic Police, was based on a professional decision made by a forum of the 15 senior policemen in the force. The forum had dealt not only with Ehrlich but with the entire strata of deputy police commanders, he told the committee. "The forum receives a booklet with all the candidates and all the available postings," he said. "It isn't the stock market where whoever shouts the loudest gets the job. The forum determines who is the best candidate for each position." He also said that the deputy positions in the police were important and that under his leadership, they had been given their own specific job descriptions and assignments. "I don't think the deputy heads in the police department should have to hear such statements as the ones made by the MKs," Dichter continued. "I would like them to apologize." Dichter did not promise that he would reconsider appointing Ehrlich to another job or promote him in rank. Meanwhile, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss informed the committee he would be conducting an examination of senior police appointments in the near future. Recently, the Movement for Quality Government filed a petition in the High Court of Justice, calling for the decision to appoint Ehrlich to Hebron be cancelled and instead, that he be given a job appropriate to his professional abilities and experience in crime-fighting.