Head of police major crimes unit resigns after four years on job

Lahav 433 chief Moti Levi says he plans to retire from force, ending 36-year career; no replacement announced

Head of Lahav 433, Deputy Superintendent Moti Levi, at a court hearing in the submarine affair at the Tel Aviv District court, on September 14, 2023. (Flash90)
Head of Lahav 433, Deputy Superintendent Moti Levi, at a court hearing in the submarine affair at the Tel Aviv District court, on September 14, 2023. (Flash90)

The head of the police’s Lahav 433 major crimes unit, the top-tier police investigations department, intends to retire from the force after four years in the role, Israel Police announced in a statement.

Deputy Commissioner Moti Levi submitted a request to Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai asking to retire. Shabtai accepted the request and the two agreed that Levi would leave within a few months, police said.

Levi, 58, has served in the police for over 36 years and took the helm of Lahav 433 in 2020. He joined the police in 1988, after serving for four years in the Israel Defense Forces.

In the past, he was commander of the Lev Tel Aviv city police station, an officer in the intelligence and investigations branch of the Jerusalem District police, and head of the national economics crime unit.

A replacement for Levi was not immediately announced.

As head of Lahav 433, Levi helmed investigations into some of the country’s most high-profile cases, including those involving political corruption, murders and terror attacks.

Illustrative: The offices of Israel Police’s Lahav 433 Unit in Lod. (Israel Police)

Among the more prominent investigations he led was the probe into suspected corruption involving then-welfare minister Haim Katz and senior figures in the Israel Aerospace Industries, the Israel Hayom outlet reported. Though police recommended indicting Katz in 2018, the case was eventually closed. Katz is currently the tourism minister.

Levi was also involved in the investigation into the so-called submarine affair, alleged corruption surrounding the multi-billion shekel purchase of naval vessels from a German contractor.

Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai speaks to a meeting of the Knesset National Security Committee on October 22, 2023. (Dani Shem Tov/Knesset)

Levi has overseen police criminal investigations into Palestinian terrorists who participated in the devastating October 7 Hamas-led attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and that saw atrocities including gang rape, torture, and mutilation of victims. Terrorists also abducted 253 people, about half of whom are still held as hostages in Gaza.

Levi’s step came as the head of investigations and intelligence in the police, Superintendent Yigal Ben Shalom, is also reportedly set to announce he is leaving the force in the coming months, according to Hebrew media reports. In addition, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir is expected to appoint a new police commissioner after extending Shabtai’s term last month by just six months.

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