For the third consecutive week, an Israeli government panel delayed issuing its stance on a bill that would grant far-right so-called National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir the ability to order administrative detention for criminal suspects, among other expanded powers.
The bill, which Ben Gvir has said is aimed at countering a so-called “wave of violent crime in Arab communities,” has been slammed by the State Attorney’s Office as a “threat to democracy” and is said to be opposed by the Shin Bet.
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation delayed on Sunday issuing a decision on the legislation by a week, with the bill expected to once again show up on the panel’s agenda next Sunday. The committee’s support significantly smooths a bill’s passage through the Knesset.
According to the bill text, Ben Gvir would be able to hold anyone he thinks “poses a danger to the public,” if the move were requested by the police commissioner and it had the approval of the attorney general, the state attorney, or one of their deputies.
The State Attorney’s Office in June wrote that the bill’s dramatic expansion of the minister’s power “constitutes a dramatic change to world order in criminal enforcement in Israel.”
In addition to creating expanded powers to jails, the bill grants the minister power to act alone, under certain circumstances, in ordering restrictions on where a person can live or visit, confiscating their passport, limit who they can speak to, forbid them from using the internet, and place curbs on what they can purchase or what services they are allowed to receive or actions they are allowed to perform.
Similar to ordering the oppressive administrative detentions, the main test to apply these restrictions would be that the minister is “convinced that there’s a reasonable concern of harm to public security.”
Since his appointment as national security minister, Ben Gvir has sought to exercise more direct control over police operations and personnel, including an eventually successful drive to remove the Tel Aviv police commander, and has pushed to expand his powers, in moves critics say tamper with the independence of the police.
Last month, the High Court of Justice issued a temporary injunction against a separate law granting Ben Gvir increased powers over police, signaling growing concerns over the politicization of law enforcement.
Source: Israeli media