Jerusalem District Police Commander Assistant Chief Yossi Pariente announced Sunday in an abrupt statement that he will step down at the end of his term.
A 30-year veteran of the force, Pariente was believed to be next in line to succeed Inspector-General Yochanan Danino as Chief of Police. The move comes as a surprise.
But Israel has seen two major police scandals this summer and months filled with riots, war and ongoing Arab violence. Not to mention the ongoing corruption trials of Israel’s former prime minister, and past corruption trials of the country’s former president and at least one lawmaker.
Pariente’s abrupt announcement followed a storm of international protest in response to a YouTube video that showed a police officer beating 15-year-old Tariq Khdeir of Tampa, FL.
The Arab-American citizen, who himself was involved in riots against police, is a cousin to 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir. The young Jerusalem Arab teen was kidnapped and murdered by Jewish gang members a day after searchers found the bodies of three Jewish teens murdered by Hamas terrorists buried in a field north of Hebron.
In addition, an autopsy report this month confirmed that Arab teen Muhammad Abd al-Majid Sunuqrut died after being shot in the head with a rubber bullet. The report vindicated the claims of Arab eyewitnesses who were rioting alongside the teen. The group was hurling rocks at police on August 31 in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz. But police had claimed the teen died after being shot in the leg and hitting his head after having tripped and fallen while fleeing.
Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch called Sunday’s resignation by Pariente a “strategic threat” to police deterrence.
“An external appointment is required to build a new corporate police culture,” Aharonovitch said in a brief statement following the resignation.
Pariente will remain at his post until a replacement is found.
He resigned just two weeks after a similar move by Central District commander Assistant Chief Bruno Stein, who was accused of guilt by association in a corruption case against well-known attorney Ronel Fisher.
Stein was “outed” in an article published by the Hebrew-language Ha’aretz newspaper which claimed he attended a private party at Fisher’s home while the attorney was under investigation for bribing several police officials.