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Israel's Knesset passes law to expand Ben-Gvir's powers over police

Right-wing MK Itamar Ben-Gvir holds an Israeli flag as Palestinians gather around him to prevent his press conference at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on June 10, 2021 [Eyad Tawil / Anadolu Agency]
Right-wing MK Itamar Ben-Gvir holds an Israeli flag as Palestinians gather around him to prevent his press conference at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on June 10, 2021 [Eyad Tawil / Anadolu Agency]

The Knesset (Israel's parliament) on Wednesday passed into law a bill that expands the authority of incoming National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir over the police force.

Sixty-one lawmakers voted in favor of the law against 55 in its third and final reading.

The bill stipulates that the police will be subject to the authority of the government and subordinated to the public security minister.

It also stipulates that the police's commands, as determined by the police commissioner, will comply with the minister's policy.

Ben-Gvir, the leader of the far-right Jewish Strength Party, signed a coalition agreement with the Likud Party on Monday to join the incoming government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu.

READ: Knesset approves legislation to boost right-wing in Netanyahu government 

The Knesset is expected to convene on Thursday to grant confidence to the new government.

Ben-Gvir holds far-right views on the Palestinians and has called for their displacement. He has repeatedly joined Israeli settlers in storming the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem.

The far-right politician had also caused a wave of escalation in occupied East Jerusalem after setting up an office in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Last month, Israeli President Isaac Herzog warned in a leaked audio that "the whole world is worried" about Ben-Gvir's far-right views.

 

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