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Ben-Gvir administrative detention bill held up again

The Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs wants to discuss the legislation with Netanyahu.

Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir speaks during a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, Feb. 15, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir speaks during a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, Feb. 15, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

A governmental panel on Sunday postponed discussion on a bill that would allow National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to order administrative detentions in criminal cases.

It is the fourth consecutive week that the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs has delayed debating the bill backed by Ben-Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit Party and the first time it has done so without announcing when it would again consider the proposal.

Committee officials told Kipa News that it was unanimously decided to delay discussion of the bill until consultations are held on the matter with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Otzma Yehudit member MK Zvika Fogel submitted the bill a month ago, which would grant Ben-Gvir powers similar to those of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in ordering administrative detentions. The defense minister uses the tool used to hold terrorism suspects without trial or charge in cases where there is a reasonable chance that the person will harm the security of the state, subject to judicial review.

The bill comes amid a spike in violent crime in Israeli Arab communities.

While Ben-Gvir would use it in criminal cases, Gallant on Saturday sent a message to the chairman of the ministerial committee, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, warning of security concerns relating to the proposed legislation.

“We believe that without a rich security context for the use of the tool, the proposal could lead to the undermining of the public and legal legitimacy for the very existence of these tools, and to the expansion of international criticism on the matter. Challenging the legitimacy of these tools could directly lead to damage to the security of the state,” Gallant said.

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