Israel Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino
Israel Police Commissioner Yochanan DaninoIsrael news photo: Flash 90

All police officers will be required to take polygraph tests before joining the police force, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino announced Tuesday, as part of a proactive program to ensure extra integrity among police staff.

An office specifically dedicated for administering the tests will be created as well, Danino added. 

Before now, the Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) was responsible for performing a background check of police officers before enlistment, and only specific police staff were subject to polygraph tests, carried out by the police intelligence unity.

This protocol will be expanded to all police officers and security personnel under Danino's program, however.  

The decision follows an announcement by Major General Yossi Parienti, Commander of Jerusalem District, that he will not be vying for the post of commissioner. Parienti joins at least four other top officers who have left the police force in Danino's term.

The national police force is waging a concurrent battle to remove the ISA's authority to veto new recruits, a source revealed to Walla! News Tuesday morning, to allow for "exceptions" to be made or for a retest in the event police differ with the intelligence organization on a candidate's clearance level. 

What if a cop was once a thief?

National police representatives have spoken to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein about the issue, the source said, and intend to follow through with legislative action. 

"If a cop is found to have stolen in his past when under Shin Bet interrogation, and he said he confessed and returned what he stole in the past incident, he can still become a police officer," the source explained. 

"We do not want thieves to become policemen," he continued. "This initiative is to give the police the tools to choose for themselves." 

Analysts have claimed, separately, that the drastic move is an attempt to clear up Danino's record. Danino's tenure has seen a number of snafus and incidents.

These include corruption charges filed against Lahav 433 Commander Menashe Arbiv, who is involved in the Rabbi Yoshayahu Pinto affair; the resignation of Jerusalem District Police Commander Major Gen. Niso Shahar on charges of attempted sexual assault; several other sexual harassment accusations regarding senior officers; and the poor handling of the police call made by Israeli teenagers Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Sha'ar (16), and Eyal Yifrah (19), hy"d, who called the 100 hotline soon after being abducted and were not taken seriously by hotline operators. 

More recently, Danino has faced criticism for Jerusalem's "silent intifada," with many accusing the Commissioner of not doing enough to quell the rioting and unrest seeping from the capital's Arab neighborhoods outward.

In addition, just twenty-four hours ago, Parienti announced his retirement, allegedly for "personal reasons." A senior police officer told the daily, however, that Parienti is leaving to avoid bad press about his own scandal. 

"No one just leaves," the source told Walla! Monday. "The whole thing smells of 'cleaning house'; it is impossible to be promoted further with skeletons in the closet."