Ben-Gvir’s bid for more power over police rejected

Itamar Ben-Gvir, leader of the Otzma Yehudit Party and right-wing member of Knesset among his followers (Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  December 12, 2022

Israel’s Attorney General is likely to oppose a bill that would give the incoming minister of national security unprecedented power over the police, it has been reported.

Gali Baharav-Miara has apparently said that she is against Ben-Gvir’s effort to subordinate the police chief to himself as minister. The senior legal official was also reported to have said that she will reject his involvement in police investigations, arguing that such probes need to be free from political interference and that law enforcement must remain independent.

The police commissioner in Israel sets policy in consultation with the security ministers, but the new bill proposes giving the national security minister the power to set the policy, relegating the police commissioner to the role of an administrator.

Ben-Gvir was reported by Channel 12 as saying that he was “deeply disappointed” by Baharav-Miara’s intention not to defend the bill if and when it is challenged in the High Court of Justice. Her intention to reject the bill “raises major questions about her professional positions,” he claimed. “It is difficult to understand how an Attorney General is quick to formulate a position on a bill submitted only on Thursday.”

The leader of the Otzma Yehudit party accused the legal official of “cooperating only with the left.” He claimed that this is the same Attorney General who allowed Omer Barlev to make “political decision” in the public security ministry.