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Israel Police appoints first ever Muslim commissioner

Jamal Harkush, center, is the first Israeli Muslim police commissioner. (Eitan Elhadez)TEL AVIV — The Israel Police appointed the country’s first ever Arab Muslim commissioner in what was described as an emotional ceremony on Wednesday, April 13.

Jamal Hakrush was advanced to the rank of commissioner, the Israeli police’s second-highest rank, and will be given command over the national department for law enforcement coordination in the Arab sector.

“In all the years of the Israel Police, never has a Muslim Arab reached the rank of commissioner. This is a historic occasion,” stated a spokesperson for the Israel Police.

Hakrush isn’t the first member of the Israeli Arab minority, which comprises roughly 20% of the population, to rise through the ranks of the Israel Police, but he is the first practicing Muslim Arab to do so.

The ceremony was attended by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and the Chief Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh, both of whom personally bestowed the rank of commissioner on Hakrush and spoke during the ceremony.

“We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Jamal, you are an accomplished and skilled officer. During your service you earned and held several command posts successfully,” said Erdan.

The ceremony was also attended by mayors and municipal council chiefs of the Arab sector towns and villages.

Jamal Hakrush, a resident of the Galilean town of Kana, joined the Israel Police in 1974 and has commanded police stations in both the Arab sector and the Jewish cities of Afula and Nahariya.

In 2007 he rose to the rank of deputy commissioner and in 2010 became the deputy commander of the national coastal district.

“The challenge of multiculturalism is one of the most complex challenges in serving in the Israel Police,” said minister Erdan. “It is, however, also the most satisfying when achieved, and today’s festivity proves that.”

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