Newly-appointed Police Commissioner Moshe "Chico" Edri will be returning to the force after almost a year of civilian life. During his time out of uniform, Edri served as the director-general of the Public Security Ministry.
Edri's close work with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan was what gave him the advantage over Jerusalem District Commander Yoram HaLevy, long considered the favorite for the commissioner role. While Erdan held HaLevy in high regard, he chose Edri due to his easy-going nature and the belief he would have an easier time working with him down the line.
Edri retired from the police in February 2018 after 28 years in the force, during which he served in a number of key positions, with the most recent being the head of the Police Traffic Department, the commander of the Jerusalem District and later the commander of the Tel Aviv District.
After his retirement from the police, Edri sought to run for the role of the head of the Israel Witness Protection Authority, but the Erdan asked Edri to withdraw his candidacy and instead appointed Avi Noiman. The fact Edri accepted Erdan's request to pull his candidacy scored him quite a few points.
But Erdi's real test came when he agreed to serve as the director-general of the Public Security Ministry. Erdan and Edri became close during the latter's time at the ministry, and the former cop served as an advisor to the minister on police matters. Erdan discussed the major issues concerning the police with Edri, and often adopted his position.
Edri also helped the minister set goals for the next police commissioner, including: dealing with crimes and violence in the Arab sector; increasing enforcement on Israel's roads as part of the effort to reduce car accidents and fight road rage; bolstering protection to children and teens from online dangers; fighting violence within the family, including the murder of women; introducing and integrating advanced technologies in the police; improving the service to the common citizen; and increasing discipline in the Israel Police ranks.
The fact Edri has gone through a variety of different roles in the police—from the commander of the Tiberias and Tayibe stations to heading the two biggest districts—also worked in his benefit.
The 51-year-old Haifa native now lives in Kfar HaOranim, near Modi'in, with his wife Aliza and their three children. He has a BA in Israel Studies and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies.
Much like his predecessors Yohanan Danino and Roni Alsheikh, Edri studied at a Bnei Akiva yeshiva high school in Haifa. His last role in the IDF was the deputy Golani reconnaissance platoon.
During his time as the commander of the Police's Jerusalem District, Edri successfully contended with the wave of lone wolf terror attacks (44 terror attacks took place in Jerusalem during his tenure), but his career was also stained by the failure in the security of the 2015 Pride Parade in the city, when one of the participants, Shira Banki, was murdered by an ultra-Orthodox extremist.
Yishai Schlissel was able to enter the closed-off parade route and stab Banki to death, only three weeks after being released from prison, where he served a 10-year sentence for a similar hate crime at the pride parade in 2005.
Members of the LGBT community were furious at Edri's appointment, as they hold him responsible for Banki's death.
"We're very disappointed with Minister Erdan, who chose to ignore the police failure that cost Shira Banki her life, and appoint Edri as police commissioner," said Chen Arieli, the head of the Aguda – Israel's LGBT Task Force. "The LGBT community and its members deserve personal security just like all other Israeli citizens. It's hard to say Edri, in his previous role, protected our security, and it would've been more appropriate to choose another candidate."
The Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance threatened to take steps against Edri's appointment. "We're bothered by the announcement about Edri's appointment to police commissioner in light of the serious failures that happened under his command at the Jerusalem Pride Parade," said Eran Globus, the chairman of the Open House.
Edri only received a rebuke in his personnel file, but the police committee examining the case did not recommend his ouster over the stabbing at the Pride Parade.
Eli Senyor, Inbar Tviser, Meir Turgeman and Telem Yahav contributed to this story.