Opponents warn that the far-right security minister may employ the 2,000-person force exclusively against Palestinian Israeli citizens and anti-government protesters.

To address the unrest in Israeli Palestinian neighborhoods, the controversial “national guard” proposed by far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has received approval from the Israeli cabinet.

The establishment of the force was given approval by the cabinet, according to the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but a committee made up of representatives from the country’s existing security organizations will decide the guard’s authority and whether it will report to the police or directly to Ben-Gvir, as the latter demands.

It will take the committee 90 days to submit its recommendations.

The guard, which would work under Ben-ministry, Gvir would deal with “emergency scenarios, nationalistic crime, terror, and strengthening sovereignty,” according to a statement from his office.

Following months of protest and a devastating nationwide strike on Monday, Ben-Gvir, the leader of the far-right Jewish Power party, demanded the action in exchange for agreeing to halt the government’s contentious judicial reforms.

Yair Lapid, the leader of the opposition, criticized a separate government moves to slash funding for other ministries “to pay Ben-private Gvir’s militia” and referred to the government’s Sunday action as an “extreme fantasy of deluded individuals.”

Yair Lapid, the leader of the opposition, criticized a separate government moves to slash funding for other ministries “to pay Ben-private Gvir’s militia” and referred to the government’s Sunday action as an “extreme fantasy of deluded individuals.”

The government’s priorities are ludicrous and abhorrent. Running over democracy and encouraging the extreme dreams of the insane are the only things that keep it occupied, Lapid claimed on Twitter.

Ben-proposal Gvir calls for the unit to collaborate with law enforcement and the armed forces to address “public unrest,” such as the “disturbances” or pro-Palestinian demonstrations that took place in mixed Jewish and Arab neighborhoods during the Gaza War in May 2021.

It will only address this, she said. The cops are not the only ones that deal with this. It’s occupied with a zillion other things,” Ben-Gvir said to Army Radio.

Ben-Gvir, a hardline Jewish settler in the occupied West Bank who has previously been convicted of supporting terrorism and inciting hatred of Palestinians, has drawn criticism for his threat to use the force of about 2,000 soldiers specifically against anti-government protesters or the Palestinian and Arab population.

There is no need for a separate force, according to David Tzur, a former district commander of the Tel Aviv police.

I believe that the current police force needs to be strengthened, Tzur remarked.

“We cannot accept any form of law enforcement that is not under the control of the police commissioner. Oddly, the government would decide to establish a new police [unit], and it would be disastrous if people thought it was a parallel force to the ones already in place or a private militia.

The “private militia”

Inspector-General Yaacov Shabtai, the head of Israel’s police force, has also expressed concerns that the national guard “may be very costly and even impair the security of the population” if it is not under his own force’s control, according to the Ynet news site.

According to Israeli media reports, several ministers initially opposed Ben-initiative Gvir’s but ultimately supported it on Sunday at Netanyahu’s urging. The project has a budget of about $276 million, they added.

The guard will be financed “by skimming roughly 1-1.5 percent of the budgets of all the other ministries,” according to Bernard Smith of Al Jazeera, who was reporting from West Jerusalem.

Yet it will be a while before a national guard is established.

“The attorney general told the cabinet that she doesn’t believe this new national guard is legal. She claimed that, as of right now, the current draught is being held back by legal issues. It must also clear parliamentary hurdles, according to Smith.

To carry out the creation of the force, Ben-Gvir stated that he intended to form a committee comprising officials from the prime minister’s office, military ministry, justice ministry, finance ministry, Israeli police, and army.

The idea to create a national guard under Ben Gvir’s command has drawn strong criticism from civil rights organizations and opposition parties.

“Why does the State of Israel need another national guard when it already has an army, police, military intelligence, Shin Bet, Mossad, National Security Council, Prisons Service, riot police, and a SWAT team?” Ayman Odeh, an Israeli lawmaker, tweeted.

Omer Bar-Lev, a former minister of public security who had promoted the creation of a national guard in 2022 as a component of the border police, asserted that it was already that force’s duty to handle the problems Ben-Gvir was assigning the national guard.

The idea that a minister who lacks knowledge, was found guilty of supporting a terrorist organization, and incited bigotry would organize a private militia is surprising, Bar-Lev remarked of Ben-Gvir on Twitter.

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