Police Chief Moshe Karadi
Photo: Haim Zach
Photo: Dudi Vaknin
Judge Vardi Zeiler
Photo: Dudi Vaknin
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Maj. Gen. Ilan Franco
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Zeiler Commission slams senior police officials

Commission investigating police's conduct in Perinian affair publishes harsh conclusions against police top brass, including Police Chief Karadi, Jerusalem District Chief Ilan Franco. MKs, ministers praise commission, call on police officials to resign

The Zeiler Commission investigating the Perinian brothers affair submitted a report Sunday slamming the conduct of the police's top brass.


"The shortcomings which have been exposed point to obvious defects and norms in the police – or rather to the lack of norms," the commission wrote in its conclusions.


Knesset members and ministers from across the political spectrum voiced their support for the commission following its harsh criticism of the police. Calls to dismiss not only Karadi, but other high ranking officers have been heard, and some stated that a new commission should be formed to probe other shortcomings in the law enforcement system.  


Judge (ret.) Vardi Zeiler, who chaired the commission, stated that Police Chief Moshe Karadi should be dismissed in light of his involvement in the affair.


However, the other commission members agreed that given Karadi's clean record and the time that elapsed since the affair broke out, lesser measures would suffice. They therefore recommended that the chief's tenure should not be extended, and that he should step down once his tenure ends in July.


The commission also recommended that Jerusalem Police Chief Ilan Franco, who served as head of the intelligence and investigations branch at the time of the affair, should not be nominated to replace Karadi during the next round of appointments.


Dichter to hold press conference Sunday evening  

Furthermore, the report recommended the immediate dismissal of Commander Yoram Levy and Superintendent Ruby Gilboa, stating that their demotion should be considered.


According to the commission, it would be inappropriate for Chief Superintendent Avi Navon to remain in his current position. It was also recommended that "due procedures" should be launched against Chief Superintendent Aharon Zargarov, including his possible demotion.


Other police officials were also accused of severe misconduct in the report. Hinting at the Police Investigation Unit and the State Prosecutor's Office, which were not personally mentioned in the report, the commission recommended that "the authorities decide how to act against each one."


Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter received the report in the late morning hours Sunday, and immediately summoned the top police brass to his office. Dichter is expected to convene a press conference Sunday evening and respond to the affair.


The scandal

The affair at the heart of the Zeiler Commission's investigation was only cleared for publication in August 2005.


The scandal centered on Tzachi Ben-Or, a police officer turned criminal, who became an accomplice of the Perinian crime family while still in uniform. In September 1999, on the orders of the Perinian family, Ben-Or murdered a rival crime lord, Pinhas Buhbut, during the latter's hospitalization at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. Ben-Or walked into the hospital in his police uniform and killed Buhbut with a shot to his head.


A year later, three months after he had left the police, Ben-Or was arrested during a robbery. He offered to turn state's witness and testify against the Perinian family in the case of Buhbut's murder in return for a reduced sentence. The district prosecutor turned the deal down.


The police, meanwhile, did not inform the judge who released Ben-Or to house arrest on the robbery charges, that Ben-Or was a murderer as well as a thief. A senior police officer, who knew that Ben-Or killed Buhbut, also decided to close the file on Buhbut's murder.


Ben-Or later fled the country, only to be murdered in Mexico in 2004.


The Zeiler Commission was established following the affair's exposure, and was entrusted with investigating the police and State Prosecution's conduct concerning the murder and during the probe which followed.


In May 2006, the commission sent warning letters to 13 senior officials, including Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi.


פרסום ראשון: 02.18.07, 12:21
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