Seeing results: Ben-Gvir ‘huge deterrent’ against Arab violence, say Israeli police

The right-wing MK has vowed that under his direction, the police will crack down on widespread Arab crime and violence – not only in Judea and Samaria, but also in the Negev and Galilee.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The appointment of right-wing MK Itamar Ben-Gvir as National Security Minister in the newly established government has had a positive effect in terms of discouraging criminal elements, a police spokesperson said Thursday on Israel Radio.

Asked several times by journalist Rina Matsliah on Reshet Bet if Ben-Gvir’s “new spirit” is already manifest, Commander Eli Levy first replied that police are implementing the new government’s regulations in general, “those of the political-security cabinet and the minister. We’re all partners in this and we’re all in a determined battle against violence and crime in the Arab sector.”

Pressed again, he responded, “I can say that there’s one thing, speaking as someone who’s out there, on the ground … that Itamar Ben-Gvir’s appointment has had a huge deterrent effect, primarily in the Arab sector. There’s a certain sense of caution since he arrived in government.”

According to a prerequisite for his Otzma Yehudit party joining the coalition, a law was pushed through the Knesset two weeks ago that gives the National Security minister authority over the police budget and its general policy, which could help him reorder the force’s priorities.

Ben-Gvir has long bemoaned the lack of governance on the ground, especially regarding the Arab sector in the Galilee and Negev, aside from dealing with Palestinian terror in Judea and Samaria.

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This week, the minister focused on the Palestinian terror issue, announcing plans to limit MKs’ visits to jailed terrorists and instructing that Palestinian flags be removed from public areas, saying they constitute incitement to terrorism.

He also ordered an internal probe into a police failure to prevent the celebration of the release of a security prisoner in his Israeli Arab hometown, which he labeled “explicit support for terrorism.”