Ex-senior cop says police chief once stabbed him in the leg during a meeting

Amnon Alkalai says he is revealing incident for first time in order to illustrate why Kobi Shabtai is unsuitable for role of commissioner

Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai attends a Knesset committee meeting on February 22, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai attends a Knesset committee meeting on February 22, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A former senior Israel Police officer claimed in an interview Wednesday that Commissioner Kobi Shabtai once pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the leg during a meeting of top officers.

Speaking to Channel 12,  former superintendent Amnon Alkalai, an ex-head of the Operations Division, said he was revealing the incident for the first time in a bid to explain why he resigned from the force when Shabtai was appointed chief in 2021.

Alkalai did not give a date for the incident, saying only that it occurred during a meeting of the police command when Shabtai was head of the Border Police. Shabtai served as Border Police chief from February 2016 until January 2021.

Alkalai said he was sitting next to Shabtai when he suddenly pulled out a knife.

“I knew he had knives, I saw him brandishing the knife, aiming it, move toward my leg, and boom, stab me,” Alkalai said. “I looked at him and said: ‘Kobi, you stabbed me, my pants are cut, it has actually penetrated — a real stab’.”

“I got up and said: ‘He stabbed me.’ No one understood what I was talking about. I left the room and Kobi ran after me. He apologized, apologized a lot, he was shocked,” Alkalai recounted.

Alkalai gave no motivation for the incident, which he said required him to get stitches in a hospital.

Alkalai said he did not report the incident, which he considered “embarrassing” and was only bringing it up now to explain why he quit the force when Shabtai was appointed.

Former police superintendent Amnon Alkalai speaks to Channel 12 in an interview broadcast on August 16, 2023 (Screencapture)

“I did not leave the police for personal reasons or [lack of] advancement, but because I thought that the commissioner was not properly managing the police, even dangerous,” Alkalai said. “I compared it at the time to someone driving at high speed on the road — that’s how we see the commissioner. Going wild in his behavior, sometimes disasters happened, sometimes near disasters.”

He did not say why he waited almost to the end of Shabtai’s term in office to make the allegations.

The police declined to respond directly to the allegations on behalf of Shabtai.

“Superintendant Alkalai is a police officer who made a considerable contribution and resigned from his position as a result of disagreements with the police command. We don’t judge a man in his time of grief and instead of getting into a debate on versions, which are at best inaccurate, the Israel Police will remember him for his contributions at other times,” the police said in response.

Shabtai’s term as police chief has been tumultuous.

He has been partly blamed for the deadly 2021 Meron crush, Israel’s deadliest civilian disaster.

He also conceded that forces under his control were unprepared to deal with the deadly Jewish-Arab violence that engulfed Israel’s mixed cities during the May 2021 fighting between Israel and Gaza terror groups.

Shabtai is expected to step down at the end of the year and not be offered a fourth year in the position amid repeated clashes with far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who has sought to exert political control over the force.

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