Ben Gvir Warns of Guardian of the Walls II, Calls for Stronger Police Force

By Shmuel Smith

Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir at a press conference in Yerushalayim, Tuesday. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

YERUSHALAYIM — National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said on Tuesday that threats to Israeli domestic security are such that he is calling for a bigger, stronger and better-paid police force.

In a press conference, with police chief Kobi Shabtai at his side, Ben Gvir warned that Israel could soon face another war compounded by civil disorders, as it did in May 2021 during the Guardians of the Walls military operation in Gaza. While the IDF fought terrorist groups in the Hamas-ruled enclave, Arab riots broke out in mixed cities such as Lod, Ramle and Haifa. The police had difficulty in restoring order, and eventually IDF troops had to be brought in to reinforce them.

“Since I took office, I have sat in on many situational assessments, preparatory discussions, in all the situational assessments I have held, a great danger arises for Israel’s national security – the main threat we face, the scenario I hear from most sources, Guardian of the Walls 2, is at our doorstep,” Ben Gvir told reporters.

“We need to come to ‘Guardians of the Wall 2’ prepared,” he declared.

To do so, he said, requires “the strengthening of the police force and the establishment of a national guard. For many years the police have suffered from a severe budget deficit, in recent years there has been a painful wave of departures. I greatly appreciate my partner Kobi Shabtai who works day and night for Israeli’s personal security and stretches the police to the limit of their ability.

“Our plan is divided into two parts. The first – strengthening the police. We will raise salaries for all police officers, an increase of between 20 and 40% in salary. We will allow the police officers to exist with dignity and recruit more police officers. I call on all police officers – come home. This is your home. In addition, we will recruit 4,000 police officers in the next two years.”

The second part, he said, would be the establishment of a national guard to deal with disturbances such as the May 2021 riots, a measure that was proposed in the past but evidently has not been implemented.

To illustrate the seriousness of understaffing, he recalled that “two weeks ago I patrolled Beersheva. There are a total of seven patrol cars in all of Beersheva [a city of over 200,000 population]. Do you understand what this means? I was approached by a Rahat resident who told me about the Wild West in the south and that his eight daughters do not sleep at night due to the dangers. Moshe Vaknin from Kiryat Shmona woke up to a black morning – his truck was set on fire only because he refused to surrender to the gang. During Operation Guardian of the Walls, I visited Jewish neighborhoods, I saw citizens who feared for their lives, as if we were in 1929 Chevron. I have heard worried citizens in the past six months – it is clear to me that the time has come to make a change in direction and meaning in order to strengthen personal security, to return governance to the citizens of Israel. We all deserve security.”

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