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Likud MK threatens police chief over handling of anti-government protests

MK David Amsalem at a discussion on the government's judicial overhaul plans in the Knesset in Jerusalem, on February 20, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MK David Amsalem at a discussion on the government's judicial overhaul plans in the Knesset in Jerusalem, on February 20, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Firebrand Likud MK David Amsalem threatens police chief Kobi Shabtai, telling him that the coalition will soon set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the police’s handling of anti-government protests over the past few months and that he could face prosecution.

The police, he says in a clip from the Knesset podium Monday evening, should be out there “keeping the public order and stopping the coup,” a common refrain in right-wing circles that the hundreds of thousands of people protesting the government’s judicial overhaul, and those economists, legal professionals, reserve soldiers, and academics voicing their opposition to the plan, are trying to undo the November election where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bloc won 64 seats out of 120.

“Don’t be afraid of them [the protesters], they are threatening you,” says Amsallem, addressing Shabtai. “I’ll tell you something, Kobi Shabtai, one day, soon, we will set up a national commission of inquiry on everything that has happened here in the last period. You will see how many people will be questioned under caution, and will face prosecution just for [the events of] the past two months. I advise you not to be one of them.”

As other MKs yell at Amsalem to stop, he continues addressing Shabtai: “You are responsible, this is on your watch. Your officers want to clear them [the protesters] but they are afraid!”

The police have been under coalition attack, especially by police minister and far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir, who has raged at the force for not taking harsher measures against protesters and appearing lenient and restrained.

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