Jerusalem police chief Yosef Yehudai, who walked a fine line trying to maintain order while not overreacting against the Palestinian population, died Friday of a heart attack, officials said. He was 42.
The Romanian-born Yehudai emigrated to Israel in 1961 and had served with the paramilitary border police and regular police since he was 17.
Yehudai, appointed commander of police forces in Jerusalem three years ago, had confronted frequent outbreaks of violence in the disputed city since the Palestinian uprising broke out in December, 1987.
The soft-spoken, pipe-smoking Yehudai was often seen commanding his forces during Palestinian stone-throwing clashes with police in east Jerusalem, annexed by Israel after the 1967 Middle East war. The city is populated by Jews, Muslims and Christians.
Yehudai is survived by his wife, also a police officer, and two daughters.