Zeiler offers cop immunity

Officer hesitated to reveal information on the Perinian case.

karadi at mike 298 88 (photo credit: Ori Porat)
karadi at mike 298 88
(photo credit: Ori Porat)
State Attorney Eran Shendar granted immunity to an unidentified police officer who asked to testify before the Zeiler Commission on police corruption, it was reported on Thursday. According to Israel Radio, the officer was concerned that the police would discipline him for revealing information about possible police mishandling of the Perinian case to the media. The Movement for Quality Government submitted a request to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz and Shendar to bring the witness to testify, and the State Attorney ruled on Wednesday that the police officer could hand over any information he wished, without the evidence being used against him. The Zeiler Commission is expected to subpoena the police officer in the next few days. Meanwhile, a day after the receipt of warning letters shook up the upper echelons of the Israel Police, efforts were being made to convey a sense of business as usual, even as senior officers rallied to defend both their commander, Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi, and the police as a whole against allegations made in the Zeiler Commission's interim report. On Wednesday morning, Karadi and Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter toured the security fence under construction around Jerusalem. For part of the tour, Cmdr. Ilan Franco, the Jerusalem District Commander, also accompanied the two. Both Karadi and Dichter refused to answer questions, as Dichter lowered his head and quick-stepped to avoid the cameras awaiting them at the end of the tour. Franco, however, did appear before television cameras Wednesday morning to deny rumors that, upon receiving the warning letter Tuesday, he had considered submitting his resignation. "The subject of ending my service in the police was never considered," he said. "I am studying the material and am trying to fill in that which is demanded of me. Resignation is not part of the agenda." Many top police commanders, however, avoided a conference on radical Islam that they had been scheduled to attend at Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center on Wednesday. Only two of the 22 commanders arrived at the conference - Cmdr. Bertie Ohayon, the head of the intelligence department, and Cmdr. Shahar Ayalon, commander of the traffic department. Ayalon took the opportunity presented by the forum to defend his commander, and the police, saying that the allegations "have trampled the honor of the police officers and their families, and have trampled our honor. We cannot accept having the honor of the police chief tarnished. This creates a negative environment which hinders police performance. We cannot accept that, but we are willing to accept any relevant criticism." "The organization is strong," he said, "and has proven in the past that it can learn lessons from every proceeding, from every investigative commission. The message that needs to come out of this from us is to support those warned, those people who are being investigated, and those who want to know that the organization is still working and carrying out its duties. Karadi, Franco and the other officers, you have our full support in that we will do the best work possible." Ayalon's comments were echoed by Tel Aviv District Commander Cmdr. David Zur, as he spoke to reporters at the scene of Tuesday's suspected criminal-related bombing in Tel Aviv. Zur warned against "blowing matters out of proportion" and emphasized that "even if there are many problems in the system, we can learn from it and heal the system." Even Asst.-Cmdr. Yoram Levy, who has been the target of the most damaging criticism from the Zeiler Commission's interim report spoke to The Jerusalem Post with an air of confidence Wednesday. "Everything will be all right," said Levy, who is on an extended vacation following the allegations of ties with the Perinian family. Levy said that while he is consulting with attorneys, he did not think that he would request another opportunity to testify before the commission.