National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir pulls the head of Israel’s gun licensing authority from a Knesset oversight committee meeting, causing an uproar among lawmakers demanding answers about Israel’s expedited wartime gun licensing procedures.
Yisrael Avisar, who heads the National Security Ministry’s Firearm Licensing Department, abruptly curtails his remarks and leaves the committee, saying that Ben Gvir demanded he stop speaking.
Avisar does so shortly after State Control Committee chairman Mickey Levy temporarily removes one of Ben Gvir’s advisers from the meeting, after several warnings that the legislative aide was being disruptive.
״קיבלתי הנחיה מלשכת השר לא להשתתף בדיון״- מסביר נציג המשרד לביטחון לאומי לחברי הועדה לענייני ביקורת המדינה.
בדיון בנושא נשיאת נשק אישי, היועץ הפוליטי של בן גביר התחצף ליו"ר הוועדה, מיקי לוי, אמר לו שהוא בפאניקה והוצא מהדיון.
בן גביר דרש מאנשי המשרד לצאת.
המשרד לענייני בן גביר. pic.twitter.com/Qk1QQQQk7H
— Michal Peylan • מיכל פעילן (@michalpeylan) November 21, 2023
Levy’s demand that Avisar finish his remarks is rejected, and Levy calls the incident an example of “shame and contempt” for the Knesset.
“A minister who is unable to face Knesset oversight and prevents his representatives from appearing will have to do so by force of law, with the next subpoena that we issue for them,” Levy threatens.
Women’s groups have been concerned about guns making their way into the hands of unreported domestic abusers, and domestic violence support organization Naamat said on Tuesday that several women have expressed concern about their partners obtaining a firearm through wartime ease of access.
Women’s organizations told the committee that “there are those who don’t have time to wait — it’s about their lives,” according to a readout from the committee spokesperson.