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Israel’s Supreme Court bars Ben-Gvir from instructing police at protests

“The minister must refrain from giving operative instructions to the police, either directly or indirectly,” the ruling states.

Otzma Yehudit Party head MK Itamar Ben-Gvir and Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai at Ben-Gvir's daughter's bat mitzvah in Kiryat Arba, Dec. 8, 2022. Photo by Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90.
Otzma Yehudit Party head MK Itamar Ben-Gvir and Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai at Ben-Gvir's daughter's bat mitzvah in Kiryat Arba, Dec. 8, 2022. Photo by Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90.

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on Sunday that National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir cannot instruct police on how to respond to mass demonstrations against the government’s proposed judicial reforms.

“The minister is not allowed to give operational instructions regarding the implementation of policy, the manner in which force is used, the means of dispersing demonstrations, and conditions regarding the time, place and manner of the event,” the ruling states.

“The minister must refrain from giving operative instructions to the police, either directly or indirectly, and this is especially true regarding protests and demonstrations against the government,” the ruling continued.

Justice Yitzhak Amit clarified that even a “mention” of Ben-Gvir’s policy during an operational event could be considered a directive from the minister.

The ruling came in response to a petition by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

“The court clearly clarified to Minister Ben-Gvir the limits of his position: the minister has no authority to interfere in the conduct of the police in demonstrations,” the Association for Civil Rights said.

“We will continue to monitor Ben-Gvir and the way he drives and we will not hesitate to return to court if it appears that he continues to serve as the chief commissioner in order to eliminate the demonstrations. The events of the last few days prove that the minister should be prevented from setting policy on a sensitive issue such as demonstrations,” the human rights organization continued.

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