The committee that was established to ascertain how police failed to prevent Yishai Schlissel from reaching the July 30 Jerusalem gay pride parade and murdering a participant has recommended that six police officers be removed from their current positions.
Schlissel was recently freed from jail after serving 10 years for an earlier attempt to stab participants in the same parade in 2005 – but was nonetheless able to come near the parade again.
The committee, which handed in its report to Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan Sunday, recommended that the Commander of the Moriah Region will be removed from his position, will not receive advancement for five years, and will not serve in command positions in the future. The head of Intelligence Branch on the Jerusalem Police will suffer similar sanctions, as will the head of Operations Unit in the Central Unit.
An official police statement declared that the committee looked into the issue deeply and conducted a thorough analysis of all the factors which allowed Yishai Schlissel to attend the parade, to bypass the security measures, and to carry out his plan.
- The commander of the Jerusalem District will receive a warning, after he took responsibility for what occurred in his district and the lack of clarity with regard to the division of responsibilities between the districts and the regions. It was pointed out that, in his testimony to the committee, the commander accepted responsibility for what occurred, as is expected of a senior officer. The commander identified the threat and ordered preventative action, and it was even reported to him that his orders were carried out.
- The Zion regional commander will receive a warning, in light of the deficiencies that were found in the region, particularly regarding the lines of intelligence and the responsibilities of territorial commanders. It was pointed out that, in his area of responsibility, no defects were found.
- The Moria regional commander will be removed from his position. He will not be eligible for promotion within the next five years and will not serve in command positions in the future, in light of his territorial responsibility and his command over the junction in which the murder occurred, and due to the conduct of the forces that were under his command. This is separate from the errors in the lines of intelligence and in light of the personal failures in discharging his responsibilities.
- The head of the Jerusalem Police Intelligence Branch will be removed from his position, will not be promoted to a position of authority or operational position for the next seven years, and will not serve in an intelligence position in the future. This is due to his failure to fulfill his duties and failure to carry out direct and clear orders that he received from the district commander regarding staff work and treating intelligence objectives that were identified as threats to the parade, including Schlissel.
- The head of the Central Unit's Operations Unit will be removed from his position and will not serve in a command role for the next five years, due to his branch's responsibility to identify "extreme figures" during the parade and on nearby streets. In fact, the officers only focused on the parade itself, ignoring side streets. The committee did, however, praise the Operations Unit head's command in the heat of the moment while the stabber was overtaken.
- The operations officer for the Moria region will receive a warning due to his responsibility for the operational plan in coordination with the district commander, his responsibility for briefing the commanders on their roles during the parade and the areas for which they were responsible, for the operational actions of the units that Schlissel bypassed, and for providing pictures of suspicious persons, including Schlissel, to the appropriate officers.
- The head of the Intelligence and Detectives Bureau in the Moriah Region will be removed from his position, due to his failure to fulfill his responsibilities, and some of the commands from the district commander dealing with sharing intelligence about Schlissel and connecting between officials about "extreme persons."
- The intelligence officer for the Zion region will receive a warning due to his responsibility for liaising between different intelligence units on the issue of "extreme persons" and potential suspects prior to the parade, and his failure to take initiative and provide new orders when the previous instructions were unsuccessful.
- The commander of the B section in the parade path will be removed from his position and will not serve in a professional position of authority for five years. He will also not be promoted in this time period, due to his poor actions and failure to uphold his responsibility to block the corner in which the murder took place. He did not spread out his forces properly, he was not present for the briefings, and did not open the envelope that he received and which contained, among other items, a picture of Schlissel.
- The head of the Center for Reporting and Coordinating Investigations and Intelligence will be removed from his position and will not participate in the upcoming Commander's Course due to his poor decision to remove several names, including Yishai Schlissel's, from a list of targets on a briefing presentation. The committee found this decision to be a fundamental error of judgment, due to the lack of correct evaluation of Schlissel's potential threat, among other reasons.
- A border guard blocking Washington Street will be removed from his position as a squad commander and will not serve in positions of authority, due to his poor performance and lack of situational awareness. These faults allowed Schlissel to break into the interior circle. Despite this, the committee praised the guard's actions once he identified Schlissel; he understood that Schlissel was a suspicious figure, strove for contact as expected and immediately acted to stop the suspect.
'This is a specific failure'
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has said that "I fully accept the recommendations of the acting commissioner and thank the committee, under the leadership of retired superintendent Yisrael Yitzhak, for its work.
"The death of Shira Banki z"l and the injuries caused to the marchers were a terrible event that could have been prevented and therefore we must, sadly, investigate and come to personal conclusions, even if they are unprecedented in scope. A central part of the corporate culture that I intend to implement in the police is to demand investigating operational failures, learning lessons, and implementing them.
"With that, I express my deep appreciation for the officers and police from the Jerusalem District who make tremendous efforts every day of the year and work under difficult and complicated circumstances in order to protect our citizens."
Acting Commissioner Benzi Sao praised the ethical, fundamental, and professional work of the committee members and their head. "The stabbing incident during the Pride Parade and its tragic consequences should never have happened. The police have the ability to carry out personal checks and to accept the consequences. There was an operational and command failure by several senior commanders, each according to his area of responsibility.
"This is a specific failure by good and moral commanders who are used to leading large and complicated events, and the full extent of their successes and their contributions to public safety and the national resilience is not fully known to the public. With this, the operational standards in the police, especially when it comes to matters of life and death, must be as high and tight as possible. It is due to this that there is a high personal price to be paid.
"Publicly I expect a reasonable, cool headed and balanced discussion. The personal price that the commanders paid is high, much more than is usual in public bodies, particularly in the field of security. Behind every commander stand subordinates, some of them future commanders, and it is in the public interest to preserve the chain of command and to allow those who can to learn lessons from others' mistakes and failures, and to thus improve and become more effective."
Over the next few days the acting commissioner, with the permission of the Minister for Internal Security, is expected to appoint new officials in the Jerusalem District, in order to maintain high standards of performance, with an emphasis on the upcoming holiday period.
Schlissel stated at the beginning of his court hearing that he does not place any trust in the Israeli government, and blamed it for his actions.
"I don't recognize government institutions," he stated. "The court did not act according to Torah scholars."