Israel: Shin Bet head meets coalition ministers to defuse tension

Middle East Monitor  /  February 21, 2023

The head of Israel’s internal security agency Shin Bet has held meetings during the past few days with coalition government ministers to defuse tension, Haaretz has reported. Ronen Bar warned of “reaching boiling point” as protests continue on the streets against the government’s planned judicial reforms.

The Shin Bet head believes that the protests put the stability of the state at stake. He noted that the Jewish Department of the agency is working with the police on monitoring the anti-government protests in case far-left activists attack government facilities.

A source from the police said that Shin Bet expanded its operations against the left-wing “anarchists” last month, and dealt with incitement by senior officials.

Earlier this month, Shin Bet warned Police Chief Yaakov Shabtai against his “incitement” remarks on social media. He was apparently told that his comments could result in physical attacks on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other government officials.

Netanyahu has told the Likud bloc in the Knesset that the leaders of the protests “are ignoring democracy and called for civil disobedience, civil war and bloodshed in the streets.” There is enough time for dialogue as there is a real intention for talks, insisted the prime minister. “The representatives of the nation – MKs – are the people who vote on the judicial reforms,” he added.