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Chief Superintendent Yoni Zeitek headed the station where Abir Dandis filed a complaint against her ex-husband, saying she feared he might harm their two daughters. The police failed to handle the report according to procedures.
When the tragic results of the incident were revealed, Zeitek decided not to wait for the findings of a committee of inquiry appointed by Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino.
Scene of murder in al-Furah (Photo: Ben Schif, Hatzvi Arad newspaper)
Family members stand over graves (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
In a letter sent Thursday morning to his commanders at the Negev and Southern District, a document which was also handed over to the police commissioner's office, Zeitek admitted that the station he headed had failed and that he should be the one to pay for the serious failure.
But a statement released by Danino's office in the late afternoon hours, in which he announced that the senior officer would be discharged due to ministerial responsibility, failed to mention the officer's willingness to take full responsibility for the failure.
Following an appeal by Ynet, sources in Danino's office claimed they had not seen such a letter. Police officials explained that in any event, the commissioner appointed a committee of inquiry which was unrelated to the steps the station commander asked to take.
Zeitek was discharged along with his deputy and the head of the station's investigation department. The police investigator who received the complaint and the station's investigation coordinator were reprimanded. The findings were handed over to the discipline department to look into further steps against those involved in the failure.
"The report's findings point to a serious failure in the conduct of the relevant officers at the Arad station in terms of the way they handled the mother's complaint, lacking in reporting, command and professionalism, a failure that goes across police ranks all the way up to the station commander," Commissioner Danino wrote in a statement to the press.
He stressed that the mishandling of the incident by the Arad station was "highly unusual, does not meet the high professional standards expected from the Israel Police's officers, especially in such a sensitive matter."
The police said in response Friday night that "the police commissioner adopted the report's recommendations, which were submitted before the station commander's appeal. It should be noted that the commissioner implied that he was planning to take these steps the night before, during a police ceremony, and was quoted by the media.
"It should also be noted that the station commander's request to step down contained facts contradicting the committee's findings, and is subject to the approval and decision of his commanders, and is therefore irrelevant."