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Ben Gvir said to fume at police chief over broken promises: I can’t work with him

Head of the Otzma Yehudit party MK Itamar Ben Gvir, left, and Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai attend a ceremony, in Tel Aviv, November 14, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Head of the Otzma Yehudit party MK Itamar Ben Gvir, left, and Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai attend a ceremony, in Tel Aviv, November 14, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir, who is slated to become police minister in the next government, is furious with police chief Kobi Shabtai, warning he won’t be able to work with him, Channel 12 reports.

Ben Gvir and Shabtai have a tense history after Shabtai reportedly blamed Ben Gvir for the deadly riots in mixed Jewish-Arab cities during Israel’s May 2021 conflict with Gaza.

Shabtai cited the Otzma leader’s decision to set up an ad hoc office in the volatile East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah which sparked clashes with Palestinian residents shortly before widespread rioting broke out.

The two were pictured smiling and hugging in recent days after it became clear that Ben Gvir would get his demand to become public security chief.

But relations have soured in recent days, Channel 12 reports, after Ben Gvir reportedly asked Shabtai to hold up a series of nominations in the police until he officially takes office.

The report says Ben Gvir was angered after Shabtai promised to wait, but today it became clear that the nominations were going ahead anyway.

“It’s not legal, judicial or professional, it’s a [power] grab,” Ben Gvir reportedly told one of Shabtai’s close associates. “It will be very hard for me to work with a police commissioner who promises me things and does not fulfill them.”

The report says the police appointments were routine and it was unprecedented for a minister to intervene on such a level, particularly one who has not yet even come into office.

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