Police to examine 50 unsolved murders

After Zeiler interim report, police compare cases similar to Buhbout murder.

karadi hands out 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
karadi hands out 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A day after the Zeiler Commission's decision to investigate the police's top brass over its handling of the 'Perinian brothers' affair, the police decided on Wednesday to review over 50 murder cases. The investigation and intelligence unit of the police was ordered to make sure that the files were investigated properly and not initially closed due to external influence on the police, Israel Radio reported. Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, meeting with senior police officials late Tuesday, called the conclusions of the Zeiler report "serious" and said that dealing with the repercussions would present a "true test for everyone [there]," Army Radio reported. Dichter said that police officials must fulfill their duties despite the difficulty. In fact, Jerusalem District Cmdr. Ilan Franco considered resigning from his post after having received a warning letter, but was dissuaded from doing so by senior police officers. Still, it was believed that once the commission issues its final conclusions, Karadi and some of the other commissioners would resign, and that Dichter would replace them with officers from outside the police force, Israel Radio reported. "I expect the police to learn a lesson from this," Dichter said. He added that if the recipients of the warning letters issued by the commission felt unable to function effectively, they would be excused. The Zeiler Commission generated what one senior police officer described as "an earthquake shaking the police" as it distributed letters of warning on Tuesday to senior officials. The commission accused the police, the District Attorney's Office, and the Justice Ministry's Police Investigative Department of serious failures in their handling of issues surrounding the investigations into the murders of underworld figures Tzahi Ben-Or and Pinhas Buhbout. Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi, former police commissioner Insp.-Gen. (ret.) Shlomo Aharonsihki, Franco, PID head Herzl Shviro, former Southern District commander and current Yisrael Beiteinu MK Yitzhak Aharonovich, as well as Southern District attorney Iska Leibowitz all received letters warning them that the commission's conclusions were likely to be damaging to them. Such warnings are distributed before the conclusion of hearings in order to allow the letters' recipients to meet with legal teams, submit additional paperwork or request an additional opportunity to testify before the commission reaches its final conclusions. The warning letters set a flurry of meetings into action throughout Tuesday afternoon and evening as speculation abounded about whether Karadi would step down in light of the warning. While the police commander was not accused of any criminal offense, the committee's interim findings concluded that Karadi had not acted appropriately as the Southern District commander. The committee cited his poor judgment in dealing with the Buhout and Ben-Or murder cases, Levy's alleged ties with the Perinian kingpins, and his appointment of Levy to serve as the head of the Southern District's elite Central Investigative Unit. Former internal security minister Uzi Landau said that the commission should be allowed to fully carry out its investigation before the warned officers are removed from duty. He expressed the fear of damage that the Israel Police may incur due to its top brass needing to spend so much time in defending their own interests. In an interview to Army Radio, Landau claimed he did not know of the investigation against Karadi when he appointed him as Southern District commander.