Israel to replace national police chief amid Netanyahu probes

After an announcement that Israel’s police chief will be replaced, opposition leaders claimed the move is a reaction to the ongoing corruption probe of the prime minister.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff

Israel’s public security minister says he will replace the country’s police chief, Roni Alsheikh, at the end of his term, which is set to expire this year.

The change comes in the midst of police investigations into corruption by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced possible replacements for Alsheikh as national police chief on Thursday. He cited “differences of opinion” with Alsheikh as a reason for not extending his term an additional year.

It wasn’t clear how, if at all, Alsheikh’s departure might affect investigations of Netanyahu.

Alsheikh has overseen corruption probes related to the prime minister during his three-year term. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing, calling the investigations a “witch hunt.”

After the announcement was made regarding Alsheikh, opposition leader Tzipi Livni and Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay criticized the move as an attack on the independence of the police and its ability to investigate elected officials.

At a press conference, Erdan named candidates for the chief of police post, identifying them as Tel Aviv police chief David Bitan, Jerusalem police chief Yoram Halevi, and Moshe Edri, who serves as director general of the Public Security Ministry.

The three candidates will now be evaluated by a government committee before the selection process proceeds.