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‘We will be vigilant’: Commissioner says we won’t let politics seep into police

Police Commissioner Kobi Shavtay sent a letter to officers on Friday, promising not to allow politics to influence police operations, the next national security minister.

“The political winds have not permeated the Israeli police to this day,” Shabtay wrote, adding: ”

“This is our duty as police officers.

However, the letter was sent hours after Shabtai attended a bat mitzvah party for one of Ben Gubir’s daughters in the Kiryat Alba settlement. Some critics deplored it as a further effort by the police chief to get to know the deputies who could be effectively his superiors. In the next government, given the laws the next coalition hopes to pass.

The bill, introduced by Ben Gvir, would fundamentally redefine the relationship between the police and politicians, giving the police minister more power over the police than ever before in the state’s history, according to a copy of the proposal released Thursday. It’s something you give to.

Ben Gvir is set to become Minister of National Security in the new government. This is a newly created role that replaces the Minister of Public Security and will oversee the police force. His new ministry will also manage the West Bank border police force, which is now part of the military.

Chief of Otuma Yehudit Itamar Ben Guvir (left) and Israeli Police Commissioner Yaakov “Kobi” Shabtai attend the Bat Mitzah of Ben Guvir’s daughter, December 8, 2022, in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba. (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)

The bill stipulates that it is the minister who sets policy, and delegates the police commissioner to the role of administrator responsible for enforcing that policy. Now the commissioner is setting policy in consultation with ministers, and the change will give Ben Gobir, an oft-convicted far-right activist, wide-ranging control over the police, with whom he has long pitted. It seems to be

It also gives ministers broad powers to decide which issues deserve more scrutiny and enforcement and which do not.

The bill stipulates that the minister cannot direct the initiation or termination of certain investigations, such as investigations of politicians suspected of misconduct. However, the Minister is empowered to set general policies regarding investigations and handling of cases.

Upon learning of the bill, Shabtai told his best friend that he would not be “no one’s puppet” and that he would not allow the independence of the police to be undermined, and he was forced to speak to two senior police officers against Ben’s objections. Haaretz reported that Gvir asked to wait until the commissioner took up a ministerial post.

However, Shabtai’s decision to attend Ben Guvir’s Bat Mitzvah has exposed him to criticism within the military. Officers argued that he shouldn’t have made such a gesture for a member of parliament who wasn’t even a minister yet. Balance of police power, Haaretz said.

Far-right agitator Ben Gvir has been accused of fomenting violence in recent years, particularly with Shabtai’s inflammatory visits to areas of East Jerusalem.

Far-right Otsma Yehudit MK Itamar Ben Guvir at the scene of a terrorist attack near the gates of Jerusalem on November 23, 2022 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A disciple of the late militant rabbi Meir Kahane, Ben Guvir hung pictures of the perpetrators of the 1994 Patriarch’s Tomb massacre on his walls until he began to rise in state politics. He was found guilty of supporting a terrorist organization and inciting racism in his 2007 conviction, but claims to have moderated in recent years.

News of the bill sparked protests, and on Friday Ben Gubir called on his political opponents to soften their opposition, saying they were likely to trigger an “intifada” or Palestinian riot.

“I call on Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Ministers Benny Gantz and Minister Omar Bahlev to stop stirring up the environment.

“It’s okay to have criticism. I’m one of those who believe that in a democracy, the minister should decide policy,” he said, calling on them to resolve their differences “politely.” .

Rapid’s Yesh Atid reacted angrily to his comment.

“Convicted criminals, terrorist supporters and Shin Bet targets who have never served a day in the IDF do not tell us about state responsibility. Doing so is a surefire way to ensure a third intifada and an international disaster,” the party said in a statement.

The incoming Likud-led coalition, which includes two other far-right factions and two ultra-Orthodox parties, along with Otuma Yehudit, has proposed a bill giving Ben Gubir expanded powers over the police before the new government takes office. is expected to try to pass quickly. sworn to.

Netanyahu on Thursday called for a two-week extension to the government-formation term that expires on December 11. Likud will reportedly use an extension likely to be granted by President Isaac Herzog for legislation to pass. The Bill and several other laws necessary to fulfill existing Union commitments.

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