Elections to Postpone Police Chief Replacement?

Coalition dissolution leads to legal issue for the police force. A-G: We can't have new security minister, police heads at the same time.

Tova Dvorin ,

Yohanan Danino and Yitzhak Aharonovich
Yohanan Danino and Yitzhak Aharonovich
Miriam Alster/Flash90

Early elections may not be the only shake-up in Israel's leadership, Channel 2 reports Wednesday: the dissolution of the Knesset may postpone the appointment of a new Police Commissioner as well - just as tensions over his role as a policeman and public figure reached an all-time high. 

The declaration of an official date for elections officially freezes the process of appointing new officials in non-political arenas, according to the daily - placing the process of replacing Danino on hold.

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich (Yisrael Beytenu) had turned to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein Monday over the issue, asking him to review whether alternative options are available for Danino's replacement, as well as for plans to replace the current Commissioner of the Israel Prison Service (IPS), Aharon Franco. 

The Attorney-General responded that Aharonovich has three main options: to appoint both Commissioners before the election announcement date, an option now made void after the date was set on Tuesday; to contact Danino and Franco and ask them to extend their tenure by several months, to prevent the appointment of a new Internal Security Minister, a new Police Commissioner, and a new head of the IPS at the same time; or for Weinstein to declare an exception to the rule, and for Danino's and Franco's replacements to be announced by the end of December as planned. The third option, he added, could be "legally problematic." 

Both Danino and Aharonovich have been particular magnets for criticism over the past year, with several scandals, statements, and spats regarding the two dominating the headlines. 

Frustration with both security leaders has climaxed, after several incidents, including the attempted murder of Temple Mount rights activist Yehuda Glick, the murders of 27-year-old construction worker Netanel Arami hy"d and 19-year-old Shelly Dadon hy"d were played down by the Israel Police and Internal Security Ministry

The frustration also stems from the revelation that in June senior police officials reportedly decided to ignore a Moked 100 hotline call from abducted teens Naftali Frankel (16), Eyal Yifrah (19), and Gilad Sha'ar (16), hy"d, after they reported their own abduction. The teens were murdered shortly after the call. 

In a similar expose, the Israel Police were found to have known about threats to Glick's life far before his attempted murder in October - but reportedly ignored them. 

More recently, Danino made a series of statements opposing visits to the Temple Mount, sparking outrage over his support for the continued discrimination against Jews visiting the Mount, where they are banned from praying by the Jordanian Waqf.

The remarks did not endear him to Knesset MKs, with at least one - Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein - calling for the Commissioner to be reprimanded over the statements. 

And controversy with Danino and Aharonovich also has spread to the security establishment itself; several weeks ago, a very public spat erupted between the two over the nature of Danino's successor, leaving Israel Police officers concerned over the quality of leadership in the police force itself. 



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