Incoming Israel Police chief Roni Alsheich on Sunday tripped over the steps of his Givat Shmuel home and broke his foot – a day before he was expected to officially start in his new role.
Alsheich was taken to Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv, and hospitalized in the orthopedic wing.
“He is undergoing tests, there’s probably a fracture, beyond that we don’t know what’s next,” Shira Alsheich, his wife, told the Hebrew-language news website Ynet.
“The incoming chief broke his foot this morning as he was leaving his house,” said a police spokesman. “As a result, the ceremony planned for tomorrow to mark him taking up his new role is postponed for now, and a notification will be issued when a new date is set. Deputy Commissioner Bentzi Sau will continue as interim chief until that time.”
Alsheich, 52, a married father of seven, lived for many years in a settlement not far from the West Bank city of Ramallah, but moved several years ago to a religious community in central Israel.
Alsheich did his military service in the Paratroopers Brigade and commanded the brigade’s engineering platoon. His successor in that role, coincidentally, was Gal Hirsch, the man who was previously tapped as police chief.
In the late 1980s he joined the Shin Bet, where he served in several roles. He has been deputy chief of the organization for the past year, a role which includes filling in for the commander when the latter is away.
Reportedly nicknamed “The Fox” and considered a top performer in the intelligence agency, Alsheich had been expected, until his nomination as police chief, to be the leading candidate for Shin Bet chief when current chief Yoram Cohen steps down. Cohen will conclude his five-year term in May 2016.
Alsheich reportedly turned down the offer once before, but changed his mind after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told him he would not be considered to head the Shin Bet.
The police force has been riven by several scandals involving allegations of fraud and sexual abuse over the last years, and several people reportedly turned down offers to head the body.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.