Police brass eager to fill open high-ranking positions

Should the cabinet okay David Cohen's candidacy for police chief next Sunday, both the Central and Northern Districts will be in need of new commanders.

jp.services2 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
On the first workday following the Turkel Commission's approval of Cmdr. David Cohen's nomination as Israel Police inspector-general, the country's top men in blue began jockeying to fill the many plum positions expected to be vacated in coming weeks. Should the cabinet okay Cohen's candidacy next Sunday, both the Central and Northern Districts will be in need of new commanders. Cohen, Central District chief, and Cmdr. Shachar Ayalon, who headed the Northern District for less than a month before he was named to serve as Cohen's second in command, are expected to enter their new posts on May 1. And Tel Aviv District chief Cmdr. David Tzur, who has twice been passed over for the big desk at national headquarters, is expected to announce his retirement soon. Jerusalem Police head Cmdr. Ilan Franco, who was badly burned by the Zeiler Commission's findings barring him from consideration as police chief in this round of appointments, has not announced whether he plans to continue in the force. Should Franco also choose to retire, two-thirds of the Israel Police's districts will need new commanders. In addition, Cmdr. Gabi Gal, head of police manpower, is expected to retire in early May, freeing up yet another prime posting at headquarters. A long line of top brass is waiting with bated breath to hear Cohen's choices. Among them is Border Police chief Cmdr. Hassin Faris, who has long been outspoken about his plans for the future, and now is no exception. "I want to be the Northern District commander" the Hurfeish native told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. Faris, the first Druse to reach the rank of commander, says he would be a wise choice to lead a district where around 50 percent of the residents are members of non-Jewish minorities. But Faris is reportedly being considered for at least one other position - the head of technology and logistics - which he has already held in the past. Likely candidates for district assignments include Police Operations head Cmdr. Bertie Ohayon and Southern District chief Cmdr. Uri Bar-Lev, who had also been considered a dark-horse candidate for the top post. The lieutenant-commanders are also waiting to see how the cards fall - and hoping that an exodus of commanders will yield a new round of promotions. Meanwhile, former deputy inspector-general Benny Kaniak has officially received the rank of Israel Prisons Service chief warden. He will take over command of the IPS from Ya'acov Ganot on Tuesday. "After Ganot, this will be a great challenge," said Public Security Minister Avi Dichter during Sunday morning's promotion ceremony, which was also attended by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.