High Court issues interim injunction on law expanding Ben Gvir’s powers over police

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

Head of the Otzma Yehudit party National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir leads a faction meeting at the Knesset, June 12, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Head of the Otzma Yehudit party National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir leads a faction meeting at the Knesset, June 12, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The High Court of Justice issues an interim injunction against a controversial law that has given National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir increased powers over the police and raised concerns about the politicization of the police.

The High Court’s injunction demands the state respond to the petition within 90 days, and indicates the court is seriously considering striking down the law.

The legislation passed at Ben Gvir’s behest states the national security minister is entitled to “direct police policy and the general principles for its operations,” including determining police priorities and operational programs, as well as general orders and instructions.

Ben Gvir argues these authorities are necessary to restore order to lawless areas of the country and clamp down on rising crime, while opponents argue it would enable the minister to actively intervene in operational police activities and allow for selective policing based on the minister’s personal politics and ideology.

“The High Court has issued an interim injunction against the blatant effort to turn the Israel Police into a dictatorial political arm,” says the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, one of the petitioners against the law, following the decision.

“Ben Gvir’s police powers law is on its way to the trash heap of history. This is what will happen to the rest of the laws for regime change which the government is planning.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid also welcomes the decision, saying his Yesh Atid party will “continue to fight against the trolling of this evil government.”

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