Itamar Ben-Gvir and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai
Itamar Ben-Gvir and Police Commissioner Kobi ShabtaiYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Following Wednesday's heated discussion at the Committee to amend the Police Ordinance Law, designated National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said in a private conversation, "The police force doesn't want me to control its budget. I insist on controlling the budget to prevent waste on the commissioner's part."

According to a report in Israel Hayom, Ben Gvir added that he has been apprised of the details of the police budget. "The Commissioner demanded four Black Hawk helicopters, to be available for his personal use. With all due respect, there's no need for it. He can travel by car; he doesn't need a helicopter. And there are many other items that are simply wasteful. I prefer to use those funds to increase officers' salaries and to fund new police stations."

Ben-Gvir also noted that, "A Black Hawk costs around $12 million whereas there are smaller helicopters which cost just two million shekels. If the Commissioner wishes to fly, he can buy one of them instead."

On Wednesday evening, Ben-Gvir told Channel 13 News, "I am very disturbed by Channel 13 News’ disclosure that the Police Commissioner is calling and talking to members of the Knesset on the eve of a committee discussion. What is this if not intervening in the political sphere? One of my arguments is that there is politics involved in the police; we know that [outgoing Public Security Minister] Omer Barlev called officers personally and asked them to release all kinds of anarchists, and I want to prevent that.

"I hope that the Commissioner and I will be able to work together, but I must say that I am troubled," he added, "because it is not acceptable to me that he will engage in political campaigns, and it is not acceptable to me that the police object to the budget being in my hands. I checked the budget, and I know how much of it goes toward conferences, other expenses, and flights - and how little goes to police officers' salaries.

"I'm going to act in a balanced and proportionate way," Ben-Gvir stressed, "and if not - there will be someone to stop me. It was Omer Barlev who said not to investigate left-wing activists. He didn't change things via legislation - he did it under the table. The law that we will enact will allow me to order the police not to act in a racist manner, and if a Jew goes up to the Temple Mount and is thirsty, no one will tell him that he's 'unclean' and can't take a drink."