Shabtai accuses Ben Gvir of ‘blatantly violating’ boundaries between police and politicians

Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, left, and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir at the scene of a terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, outside of Jerusalem, August 1, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, left, and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir at the scene of a terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, outside of Jerusalem, August 1, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai criticizes National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir at a conference hosted by Tel Aviv University, and warns that the Israel Police “must remain autonomous and free of political bias of any kind,” as otherwise it will no longer be an independent body.

Referring to a law passed in December 2022 that granted broad powers over police policy to the ultranationalist Ben Gvir, Shabtai says that “the boundaries between [the police] and the political echelon have been cracked.”

“During my tenure as police commissioner, I worked under three ministers,” says Shabtai, whose tenure ends next month. “Unfortunately, over the last year, the current minister’s attempts to blatantly violate the necessary balance between ranks are increasing.”

Earlier this week, Shabtai attested in a letter to Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara that Ben Gvir has repeatedly sought to interfere in operational police matters, including by telling senior police officials behind Shabtai’s back that the minister did not want police to protect humanitarian aid convoys from extremist attackers as they crossed through Israel to Gaza.

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