‘Restoring law and order’ – Inside Ben-Gvir’s plan for an Israeli National Guard

Even if the Cabinet approves Ben-Gvir’s National Guard proposal, the initiative may face numerous legal challenges.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir made his plans for a 2,000-strong officer National Guard public on Wednesday evening, as he is expected to bring the proposal for a Cabinet vote on Sunday.

During his campaign, Ben-Gvir spoke about rampant crime in Israel’s peripheral southern and Galilee communities, pledging to crack down on organized gangs, extortion, and widespread theft in those areas.

The new National Guard, which will answer directly to Ben-Gvir, will be focused on “restoring law and order where needed,” as well as combating terror and “nationalist crime” – a euphemism often used for racialized violence against Jews perpetrated by Arabs.

In a statement, Ben-Gvir described the National Guard as a “basic critical need for the State of Israel, without which we will not be able to protect the security of our citizens.”

He added that the “Israel National Guard will be used as a special force to deal with different emergency situations” and will provide relief to the police, which is currently experiencing a manpower shortage.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to bring Ben-Gvir’s proposal for the National Guard for a vote on Sunday, in exchange for the Otzma Yehudit chair not withdrawing from the coalition after the premier paused the judicial overhaul legislation.

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But even if the Cabinet approves Ben-Gvir’s National Guard proposal, the initiative may face numerous legal challenges.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel filed a petition with Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, claiming that “establishing an armed force subject to the national security minister and separate from the police” is inherently “illegitimate” and contrary to Israel’s Basic Laws about unbiased law enforcement.

“A police force subject to a political official is a clear and present danger to democracy and human rights,” ACRI wrote, asserting that Ben-Gvir would order the force to “directly endanger the public’s freedom of expression and protest.”

Yesh Atid MK Yoav Segalowitz told the Arabic-language Radio Nas that nobody in Israel can have “a political authority over the responsibility over law enforcement. It won’t pass legally or constitutionally,”

He added that the National Guard “would destroy the Israel Police. We won’t let it happen.”

The establishment comes shortly after Baharav-Miara ruled that Ben-Gvir cannot give commands or make operational decisions regarding the Israeli police, despite the fact that his ministerial position would ostensibly give him authority to do so.