Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan will recommend to the government that Brig. Gen. (res.) Gal Hirsch, who headed the Galilee Division during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, be named the next commissioner of the Israel Police.
Hirsch, formerly a division commander, resigned after the war amid criticism from both above and below. He was also slammed for his involvement in the 2006 incident on the Lebanese border in which reserve soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were killed, helping spark the war.
Their bodies were returned in a prisoner swap two years later. Hirsch was reinstated as deputy head of a new IDF command in 2012.
Earlier Tuesday, Erdan summoned all of the final contenders from within the Israel Police being considered for the position of 18th chief commissioner to announce his decision.
Inside the police, there had been a growing that the commissioner would be named from outside of the organization’s ranks.
Senior police officers charged Monday that the appointment of the new commissioner had delayed because the ministers in charge were playing power games with the candidates.
But Erdan, whose choice was made after consulting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, rejected this accusation, saying he simply needed time to get to know the candidates from within the police and to properly examine candidates from outside as well. Erdan took office in May.
Erdan met twice with each of the three candidates from within the police – majors general Benzi Sau, Yoram Halevy and Zohar Dvir – while Netanyahu met with each once for an hour-long conversation.
Despite having said in the past that he prefers a candidate from within the police, Erdan began looking into recruiting someone from outside it, primarily from the Israel Defense Forces.
One senior IDF officer who was approached by Erdan was Maj. Gen. Yaakov Ayish, currently the IDF attaché in the United States. Ayish, who previously headed the IDF’s operations directorate, had expected to head one of the regional commands when he returned from America.
Erdan also approached Maj. Gen. (res.) Israel Ziv, who currently heads a security consulting firm that mainly advises South American countries. Ziv not only refused, but advised him to choose the next commissioner from within the police.
Another former officer recently approached by Erdan was Maj. Gen. (res.) Avi Mizrahi, a former GOC Central Command. But Mizrahi also refused, in part because he’s expecting an offer to head an Israeli defense company.