Two announcements published last Thursday and Friday describe one by one the "method of flattery" currently used by the police and the Israel Prison Service against National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.
The first was that of the Police Commissioner, Chief Superintendent Kobi Shabtai. What has not been said about his relationship with the minister. Only recently, Ben-Gvir said about him that he was "a small, failing and weak boy trying to ingratiate himself," even after Shabtai taunted him in a newspaper interview. Saturn flattering? Who exactly is the police chief flattering? After all, only a day or two earlier, Shabtai boasted that he had saved the police from a political takeover by Ben-Gvir, blaming him for almost all of his failures.
Minister Ben-Gvir at the Israel Hayom Governance and Personal Security Conference
Indeed, Ben-Gvir was right. Saturn is indeed flattering. But to whom? You guessed it. Ben Gvir himself. In an official announcement of grants that will be received by thousands of police officers, the police commissioner was quoted as saying: "The thorough work of the minister and the Ministry of National Security has made it possible to provide grants that will help the police." Got it? A few days earlier, Saturn entered his meat at 200 kilometers per hour, and on Thursday he says in an act of flattery that the guy who is "trying to take over the police" is actually doing a thorough job of helping the police.
The second flattery has to do with IPS Commissioner Cpl. Kathy Perry. When the prison guards' affair made headlines, politicians rushed to make a spin on it. One of the decisions made was to stop serving male and female soldiers in security prisons – not a simple decision that sparked a fierce debate in the IPS as well. Commissioner Perry had an opposing opinion. She believed that in the long run, the IPS would lose experienced and high-quality manpower, since many of the soldiers choose to remain in the organization after their compulsory service.
When asked about the issue, the Commissioner said on November 30, 2022: "40% of the approximately 700 female and female soldiers serving in the organization have signed a permanent contract in the past year. They are very valuable to serve in the IPS, I see it as a very significant role. To exclude women is to exclude them. They can function anywhere. The security facilities have been held with female soldiers since 2003, so now they can't? I have female officers who started out as soldiers. We shouldn't throw out the baby with the water."
A puzzling upheaval. Ben-Gvir and Perry (archive), photo: IPS Spokesperson's Office
But on Friday, quite puzzlingly, Perry flipped 180 degrees, after her associates recently claimed that Ben-Gvir was trying to bully the body she heads. In her joint statement with the minister, it became clear that not only does Perry suddenly support Ben-Gvir's position, she has already begun removing soldiers from the IPS and intends to accelerate this in the coming days. The reason: an investigation that has just begun and is under a gag order on suspicion of offenses related to integrity, in connection with an incident that took place about a year ago in a security prison in the south.
Saturn and Perry already have one foot out. Perhaps they believe that this flattery will help them persuade Ben-Gvir to sign, as a retirement gift, another appointment of another associate to one position or another.
But she can't hide her concern that these two officers suffer from inconsistencies, especially hypocrisy.
Either the minister of national security is bullying and really trying to take over the police, or the two are just regrets. One thing is certain: their time is up.
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