Motti Cohen (center) with senior police officers
Motti Cohen (center) with senior police officersPolice spokesperson

In light of the increasing possibility that the Knesset will soon be dissolved and elections called, the appointment of a new Chief Commissioner of police has yet again been postponed. According to a report in Yisrael Hayom, senior police officials are now warning that a continuation of the present situation, in which it is impossible to appoint a permanent commissioner, is both ridiculous and unthinkable.

Next week will mark two years since police commander Motti Cohen began serving as interim Chief Commissioner. In October, his tenure was extended for another six months, as was that of the interim Prisons Commissioner, Asher Vaknin. In the coalition agreement between the Likud and Blue & White parties drawn up in May of this year, it was agreed that a panel of experts would be appointed to formulate a method of appointing senior officials, and that the appointments themselves would be made by mutual agreement – but the panel of experts itself has yet to be appointed.

Meanwhile, Internal Security Minister Amir Ohana and Commissioner Cohen have a good working relationship, but even so, there are still various issues where the two do not see eye to eye regarding the proper role of police, especially regarding policing of demonstrations.

In closed discussions, Cohen told senior police officers that, “The police force must be divorced from political considerations, free of all political calculations. Unfortunately, there are incessant attempts to drag the police into the political mire. I say now loud and clear: As long as I occupy this role, the police force will be clean of all political considerations.”

He added that, “When someone is heading an organization this large and significant, one which affects virtually every aspect of life and including matters of extreme sensitivity in Israeli society, one does not always have the luxury of thinking about whatever may have happened in the past, such as the fact that my status up until this point has only been temporary. Unlike other people who are absorbed with such considerations, I don’t count the days that have passed, and I also don’t try to predict how many are left. Clearly it would have been better if my appointment had been made permanent – it would have been far better for the police force itself and for the citizens of Israel. All the same, the decision is not in my hands, and so I continue to do the best job I can with the means I have available.”