Israel Police expected Wednesday that the appointment of Cmdr. Dudi Cohen as the next inspector-general would be approved by the Advisory Committee on Senior Civil Service Appointments - the Turkel Commission - and by the cabinet. After a long silence amid much media speculation over the surprising appointment, current Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi told Army Radio Wednesday that he welcomes Cohen's appointment. "He is an officer who has a lot of experienceâ€¦ and an ability to lead people. He is capable of administering the police force especially at these hard times." Cmdr. (Ret.) Gabi Lest, former Tel Aviv District police chief and a close friend of Cohen's, also said in an interview with Army Radio that there was no such thing as 'default' within the police force. "As a close friend of Dudi's, and as a man who has followed him throughout his career, I am upset that the media is presenting this [appointment] as if it is a compromise," he said. "He is an excellent officer, a man of deeds, not just talk. This is a wonderful morning - a great man has been appointed who will be a great inspector-general."
Police Nos. 1 and 2 both 1977
Former inspector-general Shlomo Aharonishky also praised the development in an interview with Army Radio: "Cohen is a fine officer who came up from the ranks. He's been in a wide range of posts, knows the police force from inside and its limitations. I'm happy they've understood that being a policeman is a profession," he continued. "The fact that Dichter chose someone from within the force shows he understands what's good for the police and society as a whole."
Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter announced Tuesday evening that Cohen was his candidate to become the 16th inspector-general and presented his nomination to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who complimented the choice.
Cohen, the Central District head and a 30-year police veteran, also served as head of the Intelligence Unit and Southern District.
Dichter's first choice however was Israel Prisons Service Chief Warden Ya'acov Genot, who withdrew his candidacy when it appeared the Turkel Commission was going to reject it.
After Genot removed himself from the race, Dichter combed the ranks of former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and IDF officers, including Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog, but was turned down by all whom he approached.
Cmdr. Mickey Levy, Dichter's original choice to serve as the deputy chief of police, also recently requested that his candidacy be dropped. Legal experts reportedly told Dichter that Levy, who was also above Cohen on Dichter's list for potential police chiefs, was unlikely to be approved because of his close friendship with Olmert.
Tel Aviv District chief Cmdr. David Tzur was ruled out because of the escape of serial rapist Benny Sela in November, and Jerusalem District head Cmdr. Ilan Franco was barred from consideration by the Zeiler Commission's findings.
Officials in Dichter's office said the minister was planning the transfer of command from current Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi to Cohen for May 1.
Karadi said more than a month ago that he would step down on May 1, but that became uncertain when Genot withdrew his name in late March.
Dichter said Northern District chief Cmdr. Shahar Ayalon would become deputy police chief. He has only been in his current position for two weeks, after replacing retiring Cmdr. Dan Ronen, and formerly led the Traffic Division.
The choice of Ayalon was made by Dichter following a conversation with Cohen.
Dichter once again expressed his respect for departing police chief Karadi, "for the manner in which he has continued in the role of chief inspector for a month since he announced his resignation."
He complimented the departing chief for ensuring a smooth transition and refraining from further damaging the police's image through mudslinging and allegations.
Karadi congratulated Cohen on his nomination, and described him as "deserving and professional."
Dichter also said he was extremely sorry for the personal discomfort caused to Genot, and hinted that he should be compensated with a position in the civil service.
"The minister is certain that the State of Israel will know how to compensate Genot for years of devoted and unique activity for the sake of the country throughout the 42 years of his service," Dichter said in the statement announcing Cohen's nomination.