Pay close attention to those who aligned themselves on Wednesday with critics of the appointment of Brig. Gen. (ret.) Gal Hirsch as Israel Police chief: Moshe Karadi, a former commissioner himself, whose appointment prompted four other, veteran police figures to resign in opposition.
Only two and a half years later, Karadi himself was forced to resign after a public commission of inquiry led by the late judge Vardi Zeiler cast significant doubt on his capabilities and credibility.
Since the scandal, Karadi has been under the wing of gas tycoon Yitzhak Tshuva. You didn’t hear him speak out about the procession of senior police officers that were dismissed over the past year for sexual harassment and abuse of power.
You didn’t hear Karadi publicly come to the defense of Brig. Gen. Efraim Bracha. Nor did you hear him decry the depths of Israel Police corruption with regard to the scandal involving attorney Ronel Fisher and police officer Eran Malka.
Karadi’s display of criticism was joined by Aryeh Amit, a close friend of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, the latter who admitted to giving hundreds of thousands of shekels in bribes to Bracha and will soon serve as a state’s witness in the case against former Maj. Gen. Menashe Arbiv.
Former police commissioner Shlomo Aharonishky also voiced criticism, though he himself was forced to repay hundreds of thousands of shekels he had received illegally, in return for redeeming unused vacation time that had actually been used.
Another was Yaakov Ganot, who passed up the position of police chief following harsh public backlash in light of harsh public criticism against him due to remarks made about him by the Supreme Court, which had just acquitted him of bribery charges. “It was a conviction, as far as the public was concerned,” said judge Itzhak Shamir, when he learned of the ridiculous appointment.
Criticism was also voiced by Yaakov Raz, former chairman of the Ashdod port company, who was found by the State Comptroller to have spent 93 days abroad during his time there at the expense of the company, a period that included private vacations. Numerous other concerned citizens joined this choir, self-proclaimed “pillars” of the Israel Police, a law enforcement agency whose culture of lies, corruption and shameful abuse of authority with female officers has come to light over the past decade.
If a foreign citizen had landed here on Wednesday, he would have thought perhaps that Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan had appointed a mob boss as police commissioner.
Perhaps giving the job to Gal Hirsch is a bit hasty; perhaps it will turn out that Hirsch is a man with an exaggerated sense of self who isn’t made for the job; perhaps painful truths will come to light that will make him unfit to wear the blue uniform; perhaps there were better suited candidates. But when this police guild comes out in such force against him, our natural reaction should be in his favor.
In recent years, appointing new police commissioners has become a shady procedure in which, like any backward country, there are many parties with well vested interest: Central Likud Committee members, businessmen and top lawyers among them.
At least one commissioner was appointed after a meeting with a politician suspected of wrongdoing, brokered by a businessman who later served time behind bars. Some high-ranking police officials have learned that their road to the top passes through the courts of prominent rabbis, and the offices of senior politicians and business figures.
As far as we know, Gal Hirsch didn’t take this road. It would appear as if he’s made no promises to turn a blind eye to wrongdoing in exchange for a job.
Another possible advantage that could work in his favor is that unlike Israel’s other senior gatekeepers, Hirsch did not pass audition with the Netanyahu family and their associates. For now, at least, he owes them nothing, and was not chosen to serve them.