Israel's security minister tells police to get tough with protestors

Jonathan Regev

i24NEWS Correspondent | @JRegevi24news

2 min read
Itamar Ben-Gvir, National Security Minister, arrives for a group picture of the new government at the president's residence in Jerusalem.
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90Itamar Ben-Gvir, National Security Minister, arrives for a group picture of the new government at the president's residence in Jerusalem.

There is no doubt that the Israeli police need to be reinforced. But what does the new minister plan to do with that reinforcement?

Anti-government demonstrators are back on Israel’s streets. A rally in Tel Aviv over the weekend drew tens of thousands of people to a peaceful protest, which ended without any major incidents from either the protesters or the police. 

But will the next demonstration also end this way? 

Israel’s new right-wing National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has instructed the police to be more challenging. Ben-Gvir proclaimed: “The residents of Israel want stronger police, and they want it to act. If the police are stronger, you will be more satisfied.”

There is no doubt that the Israeli police need to be reinforced. But what does the new minister plan to do with that reinforcement?

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Reports say Ben-Gvir is planning to issue new directives authorizing police to widely expand arrests of protesters, including cracking down on anti-government protesters blocking roads. Ben-Gvir says the rules that apply to the right-wing or ultra-Orthodox protesters in Jerusalem should also be applied to those protesting in Tel Aviv. 

But those demonstrating against the government claim the level of violence and public disorder in their protests are far lower, and the new move is meant to intimidate them.

“We see a where the right of people will be, over time, consumed by this theocratic government and we want to avoid that,” said Tel Aviv resident Inbar Shani. 

The first test of Ben-Gvir’s policy will probably come next Saturday night. That means there is a good chance the upcoming protest will not end as peacefully as the last one.

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