Israel officials oppose establishment of National Guard led by Ben-Gvir

Middle East Monitor  /  April 3, 2023

Israel approves budget cuts to fund establishment of security minister’s national guard.

Israeli figures yesterday expressed their opposition to a recent proposal to establish a National Guard under the direct supervision of National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir.

Police Commissioner, Kobi Shabtai, warned in an official statement that the formation of such a body could cause “heavy damage to the country’s internal security systems,” describing the move as “unnecessary, with extremely high costs that may harm citizens’ personal security.”

On her part, Israel’s Attorney General, Gali Baharav-Miara, said that the government proposal was “embodying a reversal of the usual order of operations,” stressing that there was “no need to establish such a new body.”

Knesset member Gadi Eizenkot said that the establishment of such a body was “undermining the principles of the use of force in Israel,” warning that it was “posing danger.”

On Sunday, the Israeli government approved the establishment of a controversial national guard under Ben-Gvir, who has said that it will be used to “tackle terrorism.” Opposition members accuse him of setting up a “sectarian militia.”


Israel MK criticises ministers for voting to ‘finance a private army of thugs’

 Middle East Monitor  /  April 3, 2023

The Israeli government yesterday approved the formation of a National Guard under the control of far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

The cabinet agreed to a 1.5 per cent cut in the budgets of all ministries in order to fund Ben-Gvir’s National Guard. This would provide around 1 billion shekels ($278 million) to Ben-Gvir.

Hebrew media reported several ministers in the cabinet expressing opposition to the 1.5 per cent cut in the budgets.

Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel accused Ben-Gvir of “wanting everything here and now at the expense of other ministries.”

While former Prime Minister Yair Lapid decried the priorities of Netanyahu’s government as “ridiculous and despicable” and slammed ministers for voting to “finance a private army of thugs.”

He said that Netanyahu’s government “has existed for three months and the only thing that interests it is trampling on democracy and advancing the delusional fantasies of delusional people.”

Finance Ministry officials criticised Ben-Gvir for demanding the money immediately, Ynet News reported, pointing to remarks made by Finance Ministry officials about the possibility to find alternative funding solutions within several months to avoid the sweeping cuts.