Six former Israeli police chiefs and over three dozen deputy police commissioners have called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to remove far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir as “national security minister”, warning that he poses “a tangible and immediate danger to the security of the State of Israel.”
In a letter to the premier, who heads the right-wing and far-right coalition in which Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party is a key partner, the six ex-police commissioners and 42 deputy commissioners cautioned against the “impending collapse of the Israel Police” and said the minister was a “central part” of the problems plaguing the force, according to the Ynet Israeli news site on Friday.
The signatories include former police chiefs Yohanan Danino, who served from 2011 to 2015, Dudi Cohen (2007-2011), Moshe Karadi (2004-2007), Shlomo Aharonishki (2001-2004), Asaf Hefetz (1994-1997), and Rafi Peled (1993-1994).
In their letter, the signatories asked for a meeting with Netanyahu, without the presence of the minister, to “present proposals that would strengthen the police force” and “expand … on the factors that led to this situation,” Ynet reported.
Ben Gvir has repeatedly and publicly quarreled with Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, who has served in the role since 2020. Since he took office, Netanyahu handed the police ministry to the far-right politician who has been harshly critical of the organization.
Since taking up the ministry, Ben Gvir has sought to exercise more direct control over police operations and personnel, including a botched attempt to remove the Tel Aviv police commander, and expand his powers, in moves Israeli critics say tamper with the independence of the police.
Source: Israeli media