National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir at the scene of the shooting in Yafia (Eli Ashkenazi)
Six police commissioners and dozens of retired extras sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday demanding to meet with him without the presence of National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and present him with plans to eradicate crime in Arab society. The signatories also demanded the removal of Minister Ben-Gvir from his position. The letter was signed, among others, by Police Commissioners Assaf Hefetz, Yohanan Danino and Moshe Karadi.
In the letter, the police officers wrote: "We, who led the police in missions to defend the state and its residents, see with eager eyes how the Israel Police is crashing before our eyes and how excellent police officers and commanders are abandoning the organization at a pace and frequency that the police have never known. Police in a democratic society is a cornerstone of its existence, and in the State of Israel, which is unique in its challenges, the police are a central component in maintaining national resilience."
Minister Ben-Gvir at the scene of the shooting in Kfar Yafia (Photo: Eli Ashkenazi)
According to them, "It is too short to detail here the factors that brought the police to its current state. We are here, perhaps a minute before the end, addressing you to use thousands of years of experience to help prevent it from collapsing into itself." The officers warned in the letter: "Guardian of the Walls proved how unprepared the police were for the challenge they faced, and in our professional assessment the police today have no ability to deal with Guardian of the Walls 2 or any other challenge of national magnitude."
According to the officers, they have a solution to save the police, but the minister of national security is not part of it: Itamar Ben-Gvir is not the solution, he is a central part of the problem," they wrote, demanding: "We understand the political complexity you face in transferring Minister Ben-Gvir from his position to another position, and nevertheless ask that in the first stage, on the way to alleviating the ills of the police, he should be removed from the Ministry of National Security immediately and nicely one hour earlier."
The initiators of the letter emphasized: "Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, sitting in the chair of the Minister of National Security, constitutes a tangible and immediate danger to the security of the State of Israel." Finally, they requested a meeting with the prime minister in the absence of Minister Ben-Gvir and Police Commissioner Danino, "in order to expand on the presentation of the factors that led to this situation, and mainly to present you with proposals for strengthening the Israel Police."
Since the police commissioner took office, 11 out of 19 extras have retired (Photo: Photo by Jonathan Zindel, Flash 90)
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The resignation of Maj. Gen. Natan Bozna, head of the police fencing division, last Tuesday, against the background of rising violence in Arab society, reignited tensions at the top of the police and instability in the senior command staff, which have worsened over the past two years. Since Kobi Shabtai took over as police commissioner, 11 extras out of a total of 19 have retired.
The retirement of some of them was supposed to herald a refreshment of ranks and the introduction of new blood to the top echelons of the organization, which is dealing with a severe personnel crisis and a negative image that is deteriorating day by day. However, the departure of many others by slamming the door, while harshly criticizing the performance of the police commissioner and the minister, shows the bad blood between them and the head of the organization.
The shake-up in the police comes after the day before Commissioner Bozna retired, Ben-Gvir announced his intention to appoint a special project whose job will be to deal with crime and murders in Arab society. The Seef Division, established in 2021, was supposed to lead the fight against crime in society, with dozens of standards and huge budgets, and was headed by the first Arab Muslim commissioner, Jamal Hakrush. However, from the first day of its operation, the division has repeatedly failed to eradicate crime in Arab society, and according to police sources, the division has become a work arrangement and a burden on the organization.
- Military & Security
- Itamar Ben-Gvir
- Kobi Shabtai