Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai on Tuesday condemned Joint List chief Ayman Odeh’s call the previous day for Arab Israelis to quit the country’s security forces.

Speaking during a ceremony for outstanding units in the Israel Police at the National Police Academy in Beit Shemesh, Shabtai paid tribute to the 2,120 Druze officers, 1,232 Muslim officers and 745 Christian officers in the Israel Police, praising their decision “to take part in safeguarding the security of the state.”

His comments were made available by the police spokesperson’s office.

“I as commissioner and we as police do not tend to respond to statements by public officials, but I will not allow for the defamation of Arab police officers, our brother sin arms,” said Shabtai.

“The police under my command will be like a fortified wall against anyone who seeks to harm them or undermine their Israeli identity, and the duty they took on themselves with great bravery,” he stated.

“Not only do these comments not deter us, and they have no place in the discussion, but they also strengthen the process we seek to advance, which is the enlargement of the number of Arabs serving in the police, particularly Muslims,” said Shabtai.

“From here, and in the name of the entire Israel Police and the nation of Israel, I send you an embrace of support, of back-up and of esteem for your actions,” he added. “We stand behind you, and you will never be alone.”

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