The officer who was responsible for the police 100 emergency hotline during the hotline's tragic blunder in the murder of Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Sha'ar (16), and Eyal Yifrah (19) by Hamas terrorists in the summer of 2014 is set to be promoted.
At the conclusion of a hearing of the officer, it was decided to promote him by a rank, against the recommendation of the police investigative committee which specifically called to fire him, reports Channel 10 on Thursday.
The officer's lawyer, attorney Yehuda Shushan, welcomed the decision, saying, "justice has been done and we are happy with the decision."
During the abduction Sha'ar managed to call the hotline at 10:25 p.m. on June 12, 2014. Some of the 2:09 minute call consists of garbled pleas for help in which Sha'ar can be heard saying "I've been kidnapped." In the background, various noises are heard including shouts by the kidnappers at the youths to “keep their heads down,” an Israel Radio program, and several gunshots – and, it was later revealed, singing by the terrorists.
Tragically police treated the call as a hoax, and ignored it until the parents of one of the youths filed a missing person's report at 3 a.m. It was still several hours before police connected the frantic call with the report.
After the bodies of the three youths were found near Hevron around a month later, an internal investigation was launched and five officers were dismissed for the police foul-up.
In the internal police investigation, the officer who was responsible for the emergency hotline during the shift in which the call was fielded said that he was not present at the control center at the time when the hotline supervisor tried to call back Sha'ar's number. However, recordings indicated that the officer – who holds the rank of command sergeant major – was in fact present when the call came in and immediately afterwards.
The investigation found serious failures in the officer's conduct, and determined that he was directly involved in the question of how to treat the call but left the decision to officers of a lower rank than himself.
He did not listen to the call again and in effect did not deal with the call himself at all. It was also found that he "didn't take any step to locate the caller, even though doing so is a simple action."
However, at the conclusion of the hearing, the head of the police human resources branch Maj. Gen. Gila Gaziel decided to ignore the recommendation by the committee to fire the officer, and instead merely issued him with a warning.
Among the justifications given for the decision was that the failure was a one-time issue and that his service had been classified as "excellent" by the police. In contrast, the hotline supervisor at the time of the incident was fired for her part in the fiasco.