Netanyahu Conflict of Interest Looms in Appointment of Police Chief

netanyahu, mandelblit
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. (Emil Salman/Pool, File)

The appointment of a successor to Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich has triggered speculation as to whether Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would be disqualified from involvement choosing the next chief because of a conflict of interests.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit suggested indirectly on Tuesday that such might be the case in a letter to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan whose office oversees the police and is responsible for senior appointments.

Mandelblit asked to be consulted before nominating a candidate for the post in order to “evaluate the conflict of interest issues connected to members of the government who are currently under police investigation, and to issue directives accordingly.”

PM Netanyahu is, of course, under multiple investigations, and the police have already recommended indictment on charges of corruption, currently under review by Mandelblit.

Alsheich is not expected to have his three-year term, which ends in December, extended, given harsh exchanges between him and PM Netanyahu and Erdan over alleged improprieties in police handling of the investigations and the recommendation process.

Under normal circumstances, Erdan would recommend a replacement candidate to the cabinet, which typically votes its approval. But in this case, PM Netanyahu would want to have the final say in the matter, and that could be a problem.

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