Transportation Minister Miri Regev was heard on a video repeatedly urging her driver to make his way through a group of guards and police blocking the vehicle from moving forward at an event this week, following an altercation with Shin Bet security guards, the details of which are being disputed by the security service.
A number of videos have surfaced showing parts of the squabble, with Regev’s office and the Shin Bet blaming each other for the incident.
In one video circulated on social media, Regev can be heard telling her driver “go! drive!” to which he responds, “I can’t, I will run them over.”
According to Hebrew media reports, and partial video footage, Regev arrived at the Tel Hashomer military base in Tel Aviv for an event during which IDF soldiers packaged up food parcels for disadvantaged people ahead of the coming Rosh Hashanah holiday, the Jewish New Year.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was also at the event, requiring a large detail of Shin Bet security service guards.
When Regev’s car arrived at the event location within the base, a security guard reportedly gave instructions to the driver to stop but the driver kept moving forward. The guard said the car hit his leg, injuring him.
The guard then raised the alert and Shin Bet officials, security guards, and military police converged on the scene, detaining the driver and surrounding him. When Regev returned to the car after the event, an argument broke out as she defended the driver. In the scuffle, part of which was caught on video, a Shin Bet guard is seen pushing Regev against the side of the vehicle while the driver chastises him, “you can’t behave like that toward a minister.”
תיעוד וידאו מהתקרית אתמול בין מירי רגב והשב״כ מראה תמונה שונה מזו שתוארה עד עתה.
נתחיל בסוף: רגב נהדפת פיזית על ידי מאבטחי השבכ בתמונות שאינני זוכר כמותן ביחס לשר בממשלה. pic.twitter.com/domzfFS20b
— עמית סגל Amit Segal (@amit_segal) September 5, 2023
A second video taken from inside car’s dashboard camera showed the tail end of the squabble when Regev and her driver were inside the vehicle, waiting to leave the base.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) September 5, 2023
A row of security guards and military police can be seen standing in front of the car to prevent it from moving.
Regev is heard telling the driver to drive away, but he responded, “everyone is filming from the side.”
“Go, go” Regev instructed the driver, raising her voice. “I can’t move, I will run them over,” he responds.
When she once again told him to drive away, he reminded her that “everyone has their phones out,” and asked her to “stop” and “calm down.”
The vehicle was eventually permitted to leave the base.
Channel 12 reported that Regev’s car was only released from the cordon after she called Gallant and he intervened, while also demanding a clarification of the incident.
In the video, Gallant can be seen arriving and speaking to guards standing in front of the car.
The driver later told the Kan public broadcaster that after the argument at the entrance he had accompanied Regev to the area where the event was being held, and after half an hour tried to go back to the car. As soon as he exited the area, the security guard he had argued with grabbed his arms and told him he was being detained until the police arrived. More security guards arrived along with military police until he was surrounded by a crowd.
“It was as though they had just caught a criminal or a terrorist,” recalled the driver, who was not named in the report.
“You are afraid, you are shocked, you say to yourself ‘just a moment, these are guards who are supposed to watch over us, to be with us, and they were behaving as though I am some sort of terrorist or something.'”
Regev arrived to intervene on his behalf, he said, and was also pushed by the Shin Bet security guards.
The driver said he “was in shock” but did not raise his voice and slipped his hands into his pockets to prevent any accusation that he attacked the security guards.
“I was shaking all over,” he said.
Asked about Regev’s orders that he drive off, the driver said that the minister also felt threatened. He did not reject the suggestion that she wanted him to push through the cordon to get away.
Regev sent a letter to the head of the Shin Bet’s Unit 730 which provides protection for VIPs, claiming her vehicle did not hit the guard and that she was the one who had been handled roughly by Shin Bet agents. Regev also reportedly complained that her driver’s detention caused her to be late to other engagements later in the day.
The Transportation Ministry said in a statement that “a [Unit] 730 guard blew up and acted violently towards the minister’s driver.”
It said Regev and contacted the Shin Bet asking that it investigate the behavior.
“Contrary to what has been said, the security guard was not injured,” the statement said.
The Shin Bet issued its own statement: “When the Minister of Transportation arrived at the event with the participation of security personnel, the minister’s driver refused to obey the instructions of the security forces operating at the scene, and continued on his journey while injuring the leg of one of the security guards.”
“This incident, like every incident, will be investigated by the security forces,” it said. “The Shin Bet rejects the allegations of violent action by the security guard, regrets the incident, and will continue to act professionally and in a stately manner in order to fulfill its mission and duties.”