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Israeli police commissioner regrets dismissal of Tel Aviv police chief

Israeli Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai holds a press conference in Tel Aviv, Mar. 11, 2023. (Photo: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai admitted Saturday to making a mistake in demoting Tel Aviv District Chief Amichai Eshed following accusations by National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir that Tel Aviv’s top cop was too lenient on protesters who blocked central Israel’s Ayalon Highway. 

“I was wrong, I made a mistake in my judgment. I made a mistake with the timing, and with the way in which I made it, and I do not take this lightly,” Shabtai told Israeli media.

“For the past 48 hours, I have been taking stock of myself,” added the national police chief. 

Placing the Israeli police force in a wider context, Shabtai stressed that his officers are defending democracy and freedom in Israel. 

“For 10 weeks, the commanders and police officers of the Israel Police have stood guard, protecting the freedom of democracy in the State of Israel,” he said.

Knesset member and Labor party leader Merav Michaeli blasted Ben Gvir’s decision to dismiss the Tel Aviv district police chief. 

“The Tel Aviv police commander did everything to maintain public security while allowing the most important protest in Israel’s history, while Ben Gvir told the media he is ‘disappointed in the police’ and pushes the commissioner to sack him,” said Michaeli. 

Meanwhile, Knesset Member and former Defense Chief Benny Gantz praised Shabtai. 

“It is good to have a commissioner who acts according to the law. Kobi is a brave fighter who has served the State of Israel all his adult life. At this crucial hour, I would like to strengthen him and tell him – the people of Israel are with you,” said Gantz. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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