Legal advisors to Israeli parliament and departing government criticized a far-right politician’s attempt to increase his authority as the country’s future police minister and warned that his planned reforms ran counter to democratic ideals.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, a member of the Jewish Power party, was assigned the National Security Ministry, which would have control over the police. It is part of a coalition agreement with Benjamin Netanyahu, the next Israeli prime minister.
Ben-Gvir has already proposed a measure that would change police laws, despite the fact that Netanyahu’s administration has not yet been formed. As a result, he would have more authority over the police commissioner and police inquiries.
Ben-law-and-order Gvir’s program contributed to his third-place finish in the election on November 1. He has said that this measure will strengthen the command line between the administration and the security forces.
Legislators from the center-left have cautioned that the revisions risk politicizing criminal investigations and prosecutions. They cited Ben-background, Gvir’s which included convictions in 2007 for inciting hatred toward Arabs and backing for a banned Jewish militant group.
Amit Merari, the assistant attorney general, said to a legislative board arranged to negotiate the bill after it carried its first text yesterday that “the draft does not strike an appropriate balance… between the powers of the minister and the professional independence of law enforcement bodies.”
“Taken together, the proposed directives have the potential to deal real and grave damage to the core principles of democratic rule in the State of Israel.”
The draft, according to parliamentary legal counsel Miri Frenkel-Shor, violates the standards outlined by the state panel of investigation. According to the guiding principles, police ought to be completely independent in its inquiries, with only the power of the law dominating it.
Why Focus on Police?
Some of Ben-previous Gvir’s actions have been renounced. He claims that he would serve the entire society in the cabinet. However, he has also downplayed attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinians in the West Bank and wants to give Israeli troops more leeway to use lethal force when confronted with disturbances among the Arab population.
Trying to soothe local and international anxiety over the emergence of the far-right, Netanyahu asserts that he will ultimately determine Israeli policy. Despite the fact that Netanyahu, or “Bibi,” has already held high office for a record 15 years, the subject of police independence has struck a chord with some of Netanyahu’s detractors due to his current corruption prosecution. Netanyahu insists he did nothing illegal and charges that he is the target of a politically motivated witch hunt by law enforcement.
Speaking to the parliamentary subcommittee, Ben-Gvir described his proposal as a necessary historical adjustment for every democracy. Inspector-General Yaacov Shabtai, the head of the Israeli police, sat next to him and was more reserved.
We’re not averse to change, but Shabtai argued that significant changes should only be made after extensive deliberation. “An army is not the police.” Unlike an army, which engages a predetermined adversary, the police engage citizens.
The pressure by the ultra-right wing party to amend Israeli police regulations occur a year after a local unrest in regions like Lod. Israel was heavily involved in a conflict with Palestinian fighters when its citizens set some cities in fire in protest over the army’s violence against Palestinian people.