Israel’s police department welcomed its first Muslim Deputy Commissioner, Jamal Hachrush, in a ceremony on Wednesday.
A native of the village of Kfar Kana, Hachrush has served in the Israeli police since 1978.
Less than five years ago, Hachrush made another first, becoming the first Muslim Assistant Commissioner in the Israeli police.
But the promotion was far more than a personal milestone for Hachrush. Israel’s security establishment has long sought to draw more recruits from the country’s minority populations.
Hitherto, however, that effort has largely failed in as much as Israel’s Muslim community is concerned.
During Wednesday’s ceremony, Israeli Police Commissioner Roni Alshich took the opportunity to call for young Israeli Arabs to join the police, offering special programs for minority populations.
“[I’d like to take] this opportunity to call for the cream of the crop in the Arab community to come and join the ranks of the police. We intend to create special programs [for Arab recruits], to help with [Hebrew] language studies and to help every [recruit] discover what area of service is best suited for him or her.”
Hachrush himself is slated to play an active role in the police department’s new bid to increase participation among Arab Muslims, heading a new directorate charged with improving relations with Israel’s Arab sector.