Mandelblit Sets Deadline for Appointment of Police Chief

Israeli Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana (left) and Acting Police Chief Motti Cohen. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

The ongoing struggle over appointments to senior posts in law enforcement sharpened on Monday night as Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit directed Public Security Minister Amir Ohana to designate a permanent police chief no later than the end of December, according to The Jerusalem Post.

A letter sent by Mandelblit to Ohana follows a High Court order last Thursday to act promptly on the matter, but the attorney general went a step further by setting a deadline.

However, the directive comes at a time of acute uncertainty, as the Knesset appears poised to disperse and go to elections. That would likely preclude such an appointment, as the resultant interim government would not have the authority to appoint senior officials.

In addition, Ohana would need the approval of both Likud and the Blue and White party, as provided by the coalition agreement. The two parties have been wrangling over this and other issues for months and it’s unlikely that they would get together on a new police chief at this juncture.

Acting Police Commissioner Moti Cohen took over from Roni Alsheich in December 2018, but was never elevated to permanent status, and Ohana has indicated he wants to choose someone else for the job.

Also on Monday, Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin of Likud proposed a change in the method of the selection of judges, which has been fought over by the right and left for years.

The proposal would authorize the cabinet to name justices, instead of the current panel that includes members of the government, Knesset, and members of the court and the Israel Bar Association.

Such a proposal doesn’t have much chance to pass in the current Knesset, The Times of Israel said.

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