IDF, Police to Establish Special Unit to Tackle Violence in Mixed Cities

Israeli police on the streets of riot-torn Lod, in May. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The IDF and Israel Police will establish a special Border Police unit that will help tackle violence in mixed cities.

The decision comes as part of lessons learned from May’s conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip during which several cities in Israel were shaken by riots of Arab residents, when police were overwhelmed and ill-equipped to deal with the violence.

Although the IDF regularly moved Border Police units from Yehudah and Shomron to the cities after the riots began, this was only a temporary solution.

Following Operation Guardian of the Walls, the IDF and the Israel Police worked to draw lessons from the conflict for the future. It was immediately decided to transfer command over Border Police units from the military to the police, as well as draw upon troops from the Home Front Command to replace police to secure IDF bases and convoys.

As for the new Border Police units, they will consist of reservists who until now mostly served in “regular” military units, usually in infantry or border defense.

The new unit will be jointly funded by the military and the police. The IDF will be responsible for recruiting and training the reservists, and the Israeli Police will authorize them as reservist Border Police officers.

The unit will participate in ongoing operational activities in Yehudah and Shomron and Yerushalayim, and, if required, operate under the Israel Police for internal security missions, such as preventing violent riots in mixed cities.

“This is a solution that will benefit everyone,” one senior official said. “The IDF will gain more skilled troops that can operate in Judea and Samaria and the police will gain more skilled troops that can assist in internal security.”

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