(February 19, 2023 / JNS) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that he has appointed Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir to lead a task force to fight Palestinian incitement.
Joining Ben-Gvir at the task force will be investigators, police officers and prosecutors.
It will work in full coordination with the Ministry of Justice and officials from the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), the IDF and the National Cyber Directorate.
Ben-Gvir has laid stress on efforts to counter incitement. In early January, shortly after taking office, he ordered police to take down PLO flags flown in public spaces.
“We will fight terrorism and the encouragement of terrorism with all our might,” he said.
The minister has also cracked down on the preferential treatment of Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails, ordering the closing of prison bakeries and limiting their shower time.
The moves resulted in a threatening letter sent by Palestinian security prisoners to Ben-Gvir and the press, warning of violence if their conditions worsen.
“If they touch our conditions—blood will be spilled,” the letter said.
“With steps against the security prisoners, he [Ben-Gvir] is going to set the region on fire…. We will respond to him with a war of liberation,” the letter states.
Ben-Gvir also promised to push through a fivefold increase in weapon permits in the wake of the late January attack by a Palestinian terrorist that killed seven people at a synagogue in Jerusalem.
Ben-Gvir directed the Firearms Licensing Department to increase the number of new permits issued from roughly 2,000 to 10,000 per month.
Israel has much more stringent gun laws than the United States and obtaining a license is a difficult process despite much of the population being familiar with firearms due to the near-universal compulsory military service.
In most cases, civilians may only carry pistols, and licenses are mainly dependent on completing firearms training. Most individuals can own only a single handgun and be in possession of no more than 50 bullets.
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