Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (L) and Chief Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh bestow honor on Deputy Commissioner Jamal Hakrush. (Eitan Elhadez/TPS)

The Israel Police appointed the country’s first-ever Arab Muslim commissioner in what was described as an emotional and historic ceremony.

Jamal Hakrush was advanced on Wednesday to the rank of commissioner, the Israeli police’s second-highest rank, and will be given command over the national department for law enforcement coordination in the Arab sector.

“In all the years of the Israel Police, never before has a Muslim Arab reached the rank of Commissioner. This is a historic occasion,” stated a spokesperson for the Israel Police.

Hakrush isn’t the first member of the Israeli Arab minority, which comprises roughly 20% of the population, to rise through the ranks of the Israel Police, but he is the first practicing Muslim Arab to do so.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Chief Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh attended the ceremony. Both personally bestowed the rank of commissioner on Hakrush and addressed the audience.

“We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Jamal, you are an accomplished and skilled officer. During your service you earned and held several command posts successfully,” Erdan said.

Also in attendance were mayors and municipal council chiefs of the Arab sector towns and villages.

Hakrush, a resident of the Galilean town of Kana, joined the Israel Police in 1974 and has commanded police stations in both the Arab sector and the northern Jewish cities of Afula and Nahariya. In 2007 he rose to the rank of deputy commissioner, and in 2010 he became the deputy commander of the national coastal district.

“The challenge of multiculturalism is one of the most complex challenges in serving in the Israel Police,” stated Erdan. “It is, however, also the most satisfying when achieved, and today’s festivity proves that.”

By: Michael Zeff/TPS