Bar-Lev Case Closed, He will Apologize

After allegations of sexual harassment prevented Uri Bar-Lev from becoming Police Commissioner, the charges have been dropped.

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Gil Ronen, | updated: 19:01

Uri Bar-Lev (file)
Uri Bar-Lev (file)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Major-General Uri Bar-Lev of the Israel Police will retire from service and apologize to Dr. Orly Innes, a sociologist in the employ of the government, for improper behavior toward her. The Attorney General announced that he is dropping the charges against Bar-Lev.

A-G Yehudah Weinstein announced Thursday that the decision to close the case against Bar-Lev was not reached because of a lack of evidence but "because of Bar-Lev's willingness to take responsibility for his actions."
Earlier in the year, Bar-Lev had been appointed Police Commissioner and was about to begin his term of service when Innes' allegations that he had harassed her surfaced. The incident allegedly occurred three years earlier in Eilat, and involved Bar-Lev's pulling Innes's hand after they had both been sitting on the grass in a park.
Israel's press manufactured huge headlines out of the matter and Bar-Lev's appointment was canceled, although a large section of the public was skeptical of Innes's complaint and of its timing. Others, like National Union head MK Yaakov Katz, saw Bar-Lev's plight as Divine retribution for his part in the Expulsion from Gush Katif, during which he was the commander of the police's Southern District.   
The A-G said Thursday that "In the investigation by the Department for Investigation of Policemen, enough evidence was apparently gathered for proving an offense of sexual harassment by Maj.-Gen. Bar-Lev against Dr. Orly Innes, which support the veracity of her version."
However, Bar-Lev expressed his willingness to "accept full responsibility for his improper behavior in the sexual context toward Dr. Orly Innes, and to express sorrow for damage caused to her reputation as the result of various news items that accompanied the scandal. As an expression of this shouldering of responsibility, Maj.-Gen. Bar-Lev asked to apologize before Dr. Innes. Accordingly, Maj.-Gen. Bar-Lev announced that he decided to retire from the Israel Police."
After hearing Innes's opinion on the offer, the A-G decided that in view of the circumstances of the case and its public, personal and legal aspects, there was no longer a need for following through with the legal processes against Bar-Lev.