The Knesset plenum on Tuesday evening approved, in a preliminary reading, a bill submitted by MK Itamar Ben Gvir which aims to increase the powers granted to the Minister for National Security.
The proposal was supported by 62 Knesset members compared to 53 who voted against it, and it will be forwarded to the Knesset Regulatory Committee which will, in turn, determine the committee which will prepare the bill for its first reading.
The explanation for the bill states, "A fundamental principle in modern democracy is that the political echelon, i.e., the elected officials, outline and guide policy, and the executive level implements this policy. Indeed, it can be seen that in the regime structure of the State of Israel, the IDF carries out the government's policy and the policy of the minister in charge and is subject to their instructions. In accordance with this, and in order to create a coherent legislative framework, which is in line with the fundamental principle mentioned above, it is proposed to apply a similar arrangement in the police, with regard to the relations between the Israel Police and the government and the minister in charge."
MK Ben Gvir attacked the opposition in his speech in which he presented the bill, saying, "The people are tired of the terrorism, the violence on the roads, the bullying - it happened on your watch. With God's help, when we restore peace to the streets - the left, the Arabs and the entire people of Israel will be happy too."
He added, "The police order is an old order that cannot exist in a democratic country. We are the defenders of democracy and we will fight for it. In a democracy, a minister can determine the policy of his ministry. So it is true that there were ministers like Omer Barlev who did things in the dark, but the way to go is to determine the policy of the ministry, that's what we were elected for. This is the goal of democracy. Only in third world countries is the chief of police the one who sets the policy."
Public Security Minister Omer Barlev replied, "This is a bill whose essence is one thing - to harm the independence of the Israel Police and turn it into a tool to be used by politicians. It is not intended to correct, but rather to destroy the independence of the Israel Police and seriously damage Israeli democracy. This is a real coup. This law will turn the State of Israel into a police state."