Bennett, Barlev announce launch of National Guard
Bennett, Barlev announce launch of National Guard Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, together with Israel Police Inspector General Commissioner Koby Shabtai and Border Police Commander Deputy Commissioner Amir Cohen, today, announced the launch of 'the Israel National Guard' as part of the Border Police.

The establishment of the Israel National Guard follows in the wake of the lessons from Operation Guardians of the Walls and in order to strengthen the public security of the State of Israel as well as the personal security of the citizens of Israel.

The Israel National Guard will be a trained and skilled force that will be able to operate in several areas simultaneously and deal with disturbances and emergency scenarios.

The Border Police and the Israel National Guard will be composed of three types of forces:

* The conscript and professional Border Police force, which in the course of the current year has been strengthened by unprecedented hundreds of members.

* A reserve force that has been re-established. In addition to the 20 current combat companies, another approximately 26 combat companies will be added in the coming years, of which eight are already in place. They will be equipped with advanced equipment.

Part of the process is that in wake of Operation Guardians of the Walls, it became clear that the Border Police reserve companies were only partially equipped. This is a genuine revolution. The establishment of the reserve force will be carried out in three stages within two years.

A volunteer force:

- The 'standing force', which is currently composed of 8,000 volunteers on the periphery, will be strengthened by approximately 1,500 volunteers in 2022-2023.

- A new and skilled volunteer force – the Hod company – will be established. It will be composed of over 1,000 reservists by the end of 2022 and will double itself to 2,000 members in 2023. The Hod company members will be trained to deal with disturbances and emergency scenarios. Members will keep equipment at home and be available for immediate action.

The Israel Police civil guard will also be strengthened by approximately 3,500 additional volunteers at existing stations in order to expand readiness on the streets and strengthen the sense of security on a daily basis.

Prime Minister Bennett said: "The Israel National Guard is being launched and for me this is the closing of a circle. I came into office as Israel was licking its wounds from Operation Guardians of the Walls. We saw severe disturbances in Lod, Acre and around the country, and everyone got it. We all understood that while we were talking about Iran and Hezbollah, the problem begins at home."

"Today we are starting out with a budgeted and approved decision to establish the Israel National Guard. The goal is to triple the overall strength of the Border Police units: The Hod company almost tenfold and the reserves threefold. The conscript units will also be increased.

"I would like to thank all of the conscript, reserve and volunteer personnel. This [National Guard] that is being established today - I cannot overstate the importance of it, because we cannot go to war abroad if the country is shaky, blocked and coming apart from within. You embody the internal strength of the State of Israel and I would like to say thank you.

"This is my concluding action as Prime Minister: To launch the Israel National Guard and strengthen the public security of the State of Israel."

Public Security Minister Barlev said: "One year ago, a month after Operation Guardian of the Walls, we immediately learned the necessary lessons. It was clear to us that the public security of the State of Israel is the main issue that needed to be dealt with. It was clear to me, to the Inspector General, to the Commander of the Border Police and especially to the Prime Minister – that the Border Police is the first, most immediate and best answer to the issue of public security. Accordingly, over the past year, we have carried out a revolution in the Border Police: We strengthened the conscript units. We strengthened and tripled the reserve units and we added the volunteers of the Hod company. I have no doubt that these actions of ours, which we will increase, have already brought – and will yet bring – more and much stronger public security to the State of Israel."

Israel Police Inspector General Shabtai said: "Today we are taking a significant step for the readiness of the Israel Police, in effect that of the State of Israel, in times of emergency and combat. Today it is clear to everyone it is not enough to strengthen the military arm of the State of Israel, in all its systems and capabilities. We must also improve and increase the strength of the Israel Police in its responsibility for the public security of the country."

"Only one year ago we experienced in Israel an unprecedented event: An attempted uprising by thousands of Arab citizens along with a dangerous combination of criminal and extremist terrorist elements who joined together in order to attack citizens and undermine the foundations of the state. With the establishment of the Israel National Guard we are significantly improving our response to emergency events inside the State of Israel. We are significantly improving our response time in emergencies until the massive mobilization of Border Police reserve units. We are training more people to fight terrorism and deal with disturbances. We are providing better security to the citizens of Israel."

Border Police Commander Cohen said: "Since its establishment, the State of Israel has faced a reality that requires its citizens to live in the shadow of terrorism, and be constantly vigilant against security threats which are liable to catch citizens in cities, in rural areas, along the highways, in holy places, and without warning."

"The commanders and members of the Border Police, the reservists, the volunteers, the members of the Israel Police, the IDF, the ISA and our other partners in the security and rescue services – we fulfill our operational and moral obligation to you, the citizens of the country, and are working day and night for you with determination, decisiveness, courage and daring for one and only one goal, to safeguard your security and your right to live quietly in the country that is our home."