Senior Israel police officer’s daughter gets Arabic media monitoring job despite not knowing language

Middle East Monitor  /  October 4, 2023

The daughter of Israel’s Police Commissioner, Kobi Shabtai, has been appointed to an Arabic media monitoring role within the force, even though she doesn’t speak the language.

According to The Times of Israel, Ya’ar Shabtai assumed several positions within the police force seven years ago, having risen to the rank of inspector.

In May, the 27-year-old was appointed spokesperson within the Northern District but only lasted three months before being transferred back to her old department in Hadera, in the Haifa District.

Ya’ar, who has a significant social media following with over 20,000 followers on Instagram, is said to have landed the role of ‘Officer for Digital Media Tracking in Arabic’ after applying for the position through an internal tender, a position which reportedly had no other applicants.

On Tuesday, Channel 12 reported that the decision to hire Ya’ar surprised senior police officers given her lack of Arabic language skills.

In a statement issued to the broadcaster, Israel Police defended the appointment, calling Shabtai’s daughter an integral part of the force’s online presence. “The officer was chosen for the position due to her skills and suitability,” the statement added.

Shabtai himself has been in the media recently over the police force’s inability to tackle the record-breaking number of murders in the communities of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

In May, Shabtai was recorded as saying that Arabs “murder each other” and that “it’s in their nature.” He is said to have made the remarks during a private meeting with the far-right National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir following the murder of a Palestinian citizen of Israel.

In August, The Times of Israel reported that a former senior police officer claimed that Shabtai once pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the leg during a meeting of senior colleagues.