Israel's attorney general on Tuesday urged the public not to lose faith in the country's police despite sex and corruption scandals reaching as high as the deputy national commissioner.
Israel’s attorney general on Tuesday urged the public not to lose faith in the country’s police despite sex and corruption scandals reaching as high as the deputy national commissioner.
“The police find themselves in the eye of the public storm,” a justice ministry statement quoted Yehuda Weinstein as saying.
“We must not underestimate the dangers of an unbridled attack on the entire organisation,” he said. “We should not throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
In remarks broadcast on public radio, state prosecutor Shai Nitzan called on policewomen and civilian employees who had suffered harassment to come forward.
“I want to send a message to every policewoman and woman working for the Israel police: If you have been harassed it’s important to complain,” he said.
“There is a determination to battle (this) and clean up the ranks.”
Deputy Commissioner Nissim Mor is the latest of five police officers with the rank of major-general to be investigated by internal affairs in the past 18 months, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
“He was questioned yesterday for the second day in a row,” Rosenfeld told AFP.
“As far as I’m aware in terms of the allegations it’s misconduct… with a number of different female officers serving in the police,” he said. “The incidents are sexually-related.”
Mor was expected to submit his resignation on Tuesday, according to Israeli media.
Last week Kobi Cohen, the head of Israeli police in the occupied West Bank, quit over allegations he had improper relations with a policewoman under his command.
– Pulling rank –
Rosenfeld said he had pulled rank with the intention of getting her to join him on a visit to Poland.
An official Israeli delegation was on Tuesday to attend a memorial ceremony at the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp in Poland, marking the 70th anniversary of its liberation.
“He handed in his resignation over the weekend… after he was questioned on suspicion of being involved with women officers,” said Rosenfeld.
“There was a scheduled planned visit to Poland and there was a female officer who wasn’t scheduled to go… he overruled that decision and said that she could come.”
The two were only the latest in a line of senior officers to leave the force.
In August 2013, the Jerusalem police chief resigned over sexual harassment allegations and was later charged.
In February 2014, the head of the major crimes unit quit after being investigated on suspicion of taking bribes.
In September, another major-general stepped down after Haaretz newspaper published pictures of him at a party attended by a lawyer accused of mediating a payoff to police from a dockers’ union boss under investigation for corruption.
Another Jerusalem police chief resigned that month without any allegations against him.
Yossi Pariente, considered a candidate for police commissioner, said at the time he wanted to avoid the intense media scrutiny and speculation to which contenders for the top job are subjected.
“I’m not made for the smears that accompany the race to become commissioner,” he said.