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Ex-police chiefs call to remove Ben Gvir as minister

June 10, 2023 at 11:29 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir (L) [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Six former Israeli police chiefs have called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to remove far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir as national security minister, Israeli media reported on Friday.

Over three dozen – 42 – deputy police commissioners also shared the call, warning that Ben-Gvir poses “a tangible and immediate threat to the security of the State of Israel.”

This came in a letter to Netanyahu reported by Ynet news, the signatories warned against the “impending collapse of the Israel Police” and said the minister was a “central part” of the problems plaguing the force.

In their letter, the police chief and deputy chiefs 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.”

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Since taking office six months ago, The Times of Israel said, Ben Gvir has repeatedly and publicly quarreled with current Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, who has served in the role since 2020.

The minister has faced intense criticism over rising attacks and a sharp jump in crimes among Israel’s Arab communities.

On Thursday, Haaretz reported that Jewish extremist Bentzi Gopstein, who has been banned by the Supreme Court from running for the Knesset due to his racist views, has been advising Ben Gvir on police matters.

The widely circulated Israeli daily also said extremist Gopstein was involved in a number of decisions regarding the upper echelons of the police and operations.

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