riots in May 2021
riots in May 2021 Yossi Aloni/Flash90

State Comptroller Matanyahu Engelman on Wednesday published his report on the performance of law enforcement and security forces during the riots which rocked Israel's mixed cities during Operation Guardian of the Walls in May, 2021.

Engelman found that there were significant failures which greatly impacted the basic security of Israeli citizens.

“The violent riots during the Guardian of the Walls revealed major deficiencies in the activities of the [security] regime,” he wrote.

"The findings of the audit and the set of circumstances in which the police operate will oblige the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Security and through them the Israeli government, the police, the Shabak and the entire security system to consider a series of key issues raised in the report, including the ability of the police to deal with a complex multi-arena operation, the strengthening of intelligence and the transfer of information, the strengthening of the reserve system of the Border Police, the regulation of responsibilities between the police and the Shabak, and the establishment of an operating model based on reinforcing the forces.

Engelman also said: "The prosecutor's office must act to exhaust the prosecution procedures against those involved in incidents of violation of public order on racial or nationalistic grounds."

The Comptroller's report found that the police were unprepared for the violent riots which occurred in May 2021, which saw three people killed and hundreds injured. Significant gaps were found in intelligence-sharing between the Shabak and the police as well. To combat this, the report recommends a restructuring of intelligence sharing to ensure relevant intelligence is quickly shared with bodies who need to know it, including officers in the field, The relationship between the police and Shabak was singled out as an aspect which fell below expected standards, as officials in both agencies were unfamiliar with the regulations delineating the division of responsibilities between the Shabak and the police.

The report also called for a significant manpower increase for the reserves of the Border Police to prevent the forces from becoming overwhelmed as they were in May 2021, when 3,000 calls to the police went unanswered in a 3-day period from May 11-13 and 4,000 calls did not receive a meaningful response. In addition, the report recommended that steps be taken to ensure forces are able to receive the reinforcements they need to deal with large-scale riots and close gaps in the security system.