Sacked Tel Aviv police chief: Shabtai 'not fit' to lead

News » Incidents Sacked Tel Aviv Police Chief: Shabtai 'not fit' for leadership

Former Tel Aviv police chief Amichai Eshed, whose dismissal from the Israeli police was announced on Thursday by National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, reportedly told Israeli police chief Kobi Shabtai in a telephone conversation that he “doesn't fit” to lead law enforcement and that he is making a mistake he will regret. The conversation took place before the decision was made public, Israeli media reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the “difficult” decision.

The Tel Aviv police chief was removed from office in a statement by Ben-Gvir, who said that Ashed would be appointed to the new position of head of the police training department with immediate effect. The announcement was made a few hours after Ben Gvir lashed out Thursday at police restraint during large anti-government protests in Tel Aviv and near Ben Gurion International Airport.

Despite the decision to resign, Eshed led the police operation after the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv on Thursday evening.

The dismissal process was frozen on Friday by government legal adviser Gali Baharav-Miara, who questioned the legality of the decision which many consider politically motivated.

During their call on Thursday, Ashed told Shabtai: “If it is your decision at this hour and at this time, you cannot command the police. You are a weak leader, you have destroyed the police. I am not going to move to the training department. You will hear about me.”

Amid the brewing conflict, six acting deputy police chiefs on Friday called for Shabtai's resignation over his handling of the situation. High-ranking police sources cited by Haaretz, said that the leadership of the police “lost confidence in Shabtai” and that there is no reason to remove Ashed from office.

"Shabtai despises him and despised him from the very first day", — reported “Haaretz” one unnamed source.

Shabtai defended the decision to transfer Ashed on Friday, saying he made the decision to remove him from his post as commander of the Tel Aviv district several months ago amid dissatisfaction with “Eshed's behavior on a personal level in joint discussions and in professional actions on the ground.”

In response to an instruction from a legal adviser to freeze Ashed's dismissal, Shabtai confirmed that the transfer would be delayed, although he insisted that the decision was part of “decisions for which the Israeli police had been preparing for a long time” and noted that the deadlines were determined solely by discretion of the minister of national security.

Notably, Eshed was on vacation during the March 1 protests in Tel Aviv. His deputy oversaw the rallies.

Ben-Gvir said on Thursday that Ashed's transfer was “pre-arranged” and rejected Baharav-Miara's order to freeze the dismissal, calling her “a leftist attorney general representing the previous regime with clearly political goals.”

that her decision to freeze Ashed's removal was evidence of the need for the Netanyahu government's proposal to neutralize the judiciary, which includes an attempt to limit the powers of a legal adviser influence politics.

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