2 high-ranking cops get boot over sexual harassment

Commissioner discharges Hagai Dotan and Moshe Ivgi; Dotan’s lawyer says ‘decision was the right one’

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Deputy Commissioner Hagai Dotan (L) with Chief of Police Yohanan Danino, on May 17, 2011. (photo credit Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Deputy Commissioner Hagai Dotan (L) with Chief of Police Yohanan Danino, on May 17, 2011. (photo credit Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino will dismiss Maj. Gen. Hagai Dotan, head of the coastal district of the police, and Com. Moshe Ivgi, head of the Beersheba city police, amid sexual harassment charges.

Dotan, 55, was instructed to take two weeks’ leave when the allegations first surfaced earlier this month and was given strict conditions not to contact any other police personnel except the police commissioner. Dotan took command of the coastal district in 2011.

The allegations against Dotan came to light after several women lodged a complaint with the internal affairs unit of the police several weeks ago.

Five female police officers who complained about Dotan were also summoned for questioning on Wednesday about their claims of what was primarily verbal abuse. However, despite having given testimony, none of the women intend to press charges.

In one case, the news site Ynet reported, Dotan approached a female officer at a social event and invited her back to his hotel room. When she rebuffed his advances, the district commander began harassing her.

Dotan is also accused of carrying on a relationship with a subordinate officer and then promoting her despite the conflict of interest.

Ivgi, the Beersheba chief, is accused of sexually harassing an officer. According to her complaint, Livgi approached her while she was pregnant and asked her how far along she was in her pregnancy. When she told him she was in her fifth month, Ivgi told her he had always fantasized about having sex with a woman who was five-months pregnant.

The woman, who is being represented by attorney Guy Ofir, claims the Beersheba police commander sent her messages asking her to text him pictures of herself wearing skirts.

Last month, Deputy Commissioner Nissim Mor, once a contender for Israel Police commissioner, was accused of sexually harassing and assaulting a policewoman, as well as carrying on inappropriate relationships with other female subordinates.

Earlier in January, Judea and Samaria District Commander Kobi Cohen announced his resignation after admitting to an improper relationship with a subordinate officer.

Dotan’s lawyer, Lior Epstein, said, “There’s no practical way for Hagai to continue in his position as a major general and therefore the decision of the commissioner to release Hagai from his service is the right one.”

A high-ranking officer in the coastal district, who would not be named, told Ynet that Dotan’s dismissal had caused serious problems for the whole area. “The district is in a crisis, but there was no choice with the current state of affairs. I don’t think the commissioner had a choice but to deal with the issue of Maj. Gen. Dotan as he did.”

“These are difficult days for the district,” the officer went on, “but I hope and believe we will find the strength to overcome and to carry on, and hopefully that will bring an end to these various scandals.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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