Firing back at Netanyahu, Alsheikh denies leaks from police
Speaking days after Netanyahu accuses him of failing to plug 'tsunami' of leaks about his corruption probes, Roni Alsheikh insists police not responsible, but promises investigators 'will not show favoritism.' Lapid: 'PM doesn’t threaten police chief in normal state.'
“The leak is not from the police. I have full confidence in the way in which the sensitive investigations are being handled in the Israel Police,” Alsheikh stated during a meeting of senior police officers.
On Saturday night, Netanyahu went on the offensive against Alsheikh directly, venting frustration over the way in which the probes were being handled and accusing the police of being responsible for "a tsunami of leaks", calling them "baseless attacks."
"When Police Commissioner Alsheikh started his term, he made two important decisions: that there would be no more leaks from police investigations, and that the police will not make recommendations (on indictment) anymore," Netanyahu said, expressing his belief that he had not made good on the promise.
Addressing the charges, Alsheikh categorically denied any police involvement in the leaks. “I have no doubt that the leaks are not coming from the police. We do everything in order to preserve the purity of the investigations and remain with clean hands,” he said.
“We will do our work without favoritism and I will lend support to anyone doing their work in the field.”
Gainsaying Netanyahu’s claims, Alsheikh doubled down on his belief that the police could be exonerated from any wrongdoing in the investigations’ handling, citing rigorous tests police are required to undergo to ensure their trust.
“There is no organization that deals with law enforcement that has done what the Israel Police does on the issue of plugging leaks. In the police a computerized test is conducted to examine reliability. Which other organization checks itself like that?” Alsheikh asked his listeners.
“I am proud to stand in this organization, as the head of this organization, that does sacred work and in my opinion does its work in a professional, ethical and impartial manner, without any blemishes. I stand behind every word I have said,” he continued.
“When the day comes I will also be willing to address the details and clarify things for anyone who asks. At the moment though I think it’s not right ... I wish for us all to continue to do this sacred work. It isn’t always pleasant, it isn’t always popular, but that is the meaning of the police. It deals with the exposed nerves of Israeli society. That is its job.”
According to a Channel 10 report, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who was in Washington when Netanyahu made his remarks, called Alsheikh to express his solidarity with him.
“I am standing by you. I give you my full support,” Mandelblit reportedly told him. The state prosecutor also apparently called Alsheikh to offer his unequivocal support, adding that “every head of a law-enforcement body is behind you.”
Leader of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid also joined the fray on Monday night when he launched into Netanyahu for his complaints, particularly those regarding the investigation into the submarines affair (also known as Case 3000)—in which he is currently not a suspect.
“The Netanyahu government doesn’t even pretend to do the right or good thing,” Lapid scathed during a meeting that took place at the Tel Aviv Convention Center.
“Its only goal is to stay in power, to stay in the chair. Because it’s easier to cope with the investigations in the Prime Minister’s Residence.”
Politics, he continued, “has become the number one problem in the State of Israel. The corruption starts there, the inefficiency starts there. Interest groups sit on the faucet. Whoever is closest to the plate receives more. Bribery, coalition funds, disgusting incitement. They incite us against one another. The political system is sick.”
Turning to Case 3000, Lapid listed the numerous positions of individuals involved in the case, all of whom are Netanyahu’s past and present closest associates.
“The prime minister’s closest circle is corrupt. His lawyers, his former chief of staff, his closest aide, his close family associates. Every single one takes a piece of the cake when it’s dark and Netanyahu, instead of fighting it, threatens those who try and safeguard the law,” Lapid lamented.
Regarding Netanyahu's attacks on the police, Lapid was equally forthright in his criticism.
“To threaten whoever investigates you is a pattern of criminal behavior. The prime minister needs to threaten Hezbollah and Hamas, not the guardians of the innocent whom he himself appointed,” he said.
“You know that I urge respect for Netanyahu, sometimes too much maybe...but he has lost the brakes. In a normal state the prime minister does not threaten the police commissioner. Where did the paranoid claim come from that the people he himself appointed are going after him? Think about who he is threatening.”