YITZHAK AHARONOVITCH 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni will try to resolve a dispute between Public
Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino and
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein over how far to stretch the law to fight
during an interview on Channel 2,
To combat a recent uptick in mob violence, the dispute
between the parties erupted full scale late Tuesday.
Aharonovitch said, “In a war you use all of
the tools. There are tools I have requested: budget increases and to allow the
police to use administrative detentions.”
Following an attempted car
bombing of a government prosecutor on Thursday who was working on cases against
organized crime, all major law enforcement officials said that organized crime
had crossed a red line and that the state’s counterattack would be much harsher
Much of the media overlooked this comment as the focus was on
the more general, elevated fight against crime as well as new arrests of
organized crime figures which were being made.
Questioned earlier Tuesday
about Aharonovitch’s push for using administrative detentions, government
sources involved in the issue indicated that this tactic was not seriously being
But later Tuesday, Aharonovitch doubled-down, giving an
impassioned speech for using administrative detention and other more aggressive
measure to fight crime.
At the Journalists Association’s conference in
Eilat on Tuesday, Aharonovitch said “our intention is to take them [criminals]
off the street. I need to worry about the citizens and not about them
“This is a war and we will win this war,” he
At the same conference, Danino expressed support for a “new search
law” which many interpreted in context to mean warrantless
Following these comments, the same government sources indicated
that it was unclear what the government as a whole would decide but that
Weinstein was “categorically opposed” to using administrative
Livni’s office said that she is not taking a public stance on
any of the specific potential new tools for fighting crime in dispute, but hopes
to resolve the dispute at a meeting she is chairing Sunday.
will include all of the key players: Weinstein, Aharonovitch, Danino and State
Attorney Moshe Lador, among others.
Overall, Livni’s stance is to use all
available means within the boundaries of the law to work on a united front to
fight organized crime without compromise.
Administrative detention is
indefinite detention without formal trial or regular charges, though military
judges can approve specific periods of detention.
To date in Israel, the
government says that it uses it in rare circumstances for foreign terrorists,
like Hamas agents, only to prevent them from committing future crimes or where
presenting the evidence at trial would expose intelligence sources in the
Even using administrative detention against foreign terrorists is
highly controversial and is rarely used in Western democracies with the US and
Israel being some of the few countries who have used it.
But it has never
been used to fight domestic crime, such as organized crime, who must be brought
to trial and can only be detained for defined periods as set down by civilian
In all but the most extreme cases, a warrant must be issued for
certain kinds of police searches for evidence related to crimes.
Democracy Institute vice president and top criminal law expert Prof. Mordechai
Kremnitzer said that using administrative detention against organized crime was
“a bad idea” and that “there is no comparison between the fear and threat of
terror and of organized crime.”
He said that he disagreed with
Aharonovitch’s statement implying that criminals rights were unimportant,
stating, “We can’t forget rights, they are the infrastructure of our
Kremnitzer added that the only scenario where he could
foresee using administrative detention against domestic crime would be where
“the rule of law was near collapse and we are not there.”
He said that he
was “very worried” that actors which were anti-Israel “would be happy” to use
such a new policy to further undermine Israel’s image and that even Israeli
tourism and foreign investment into the country could be damaged.