Ben-Gvir will visit the Temple Mount in coming days, advisor estimates

"Political winds will not sweep through Israeli police," Kobi Shabtai wrote in a Friday open letter to law enforcement officials.

 OTZMA YEHUDIT Party head Itamar Ben-Gvir and Israel Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Kobi Shabtai attend a ceremony last month (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)
OTZMA YEHUDIT Party head Itamar Ben-Gvir and Israel Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Kobi Shabtai attend a ceremony last month
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

Incoming National Security Minister MK Itamar Ben-Gvir will visit the Temple Mount in the coming days, a member of his negotiating team and future bureau chief, lawyer Chanamel Dorfman, said on Meet the Press on Saturday night.

Ben-Gvir has not made a high-profile visit to the Temple Mount since the election. The move could trigger protests and could lead to spiraling violence in the West Bank.

Dorman also said in an interview in Yisrael Hayom that was published on Friday that Otzma Yehudit would not enter the government without the law to grant immunity to soldiers and police officers. However, it is not clear if this demand is a precondition.

Ben-Gvir submitted a bill on Thursday that will transfer some of the Israel Police Commissioner's powers to the National Security Minister. The law is a precondition for Ben-Gvir's entry into the government.

Commissioner Kobi Shabtai in response pledged that he will be "on guard" to protect the police's independence and strength.

 Israeli chief of Police Kobi Shabtai attends Constitution Committee meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem, on June 15, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Israeli chief of Police Kobi Shabtai attends Constitution Committee meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem, on June 15, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

"Political winds will not sweep through Israeli police," Shabtai wrote in a Friday open letter to law enforcement officials. "This is my personal duty and I intend to fulfill it."

In the letter, Shabtai stressed that Israel Police "operated on the basis of our professional standards under every Israel government to date...the organization is a central and leading body in Israel's law enforcement establishment and as such, will remain...free of politics."

Shabtai said he was "aware" of both public and internal criticism but added that the "reality is complex and sometimes not fully displayed."

Criticisms of the law proposal

Outgoing Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev criticized the law proposal, calling it "a serious blow to the police, turning the commissioner into a pawn and the trampling on democracy."

"The Israel Police will become political and mediocre and will be run by inexperienced and irresponsible people. It will lose any vestige of public trust, and it will undergo a deterioration of its professionality, damage to its ability to fight crime and corruption, and lead to the flight of excellent officers who will not want to be judged by politicians," Bar-Lev wrote on Twitter.

"The Israel Police will become political and mediocre and will be run by inexperienced and irresponsible people. It will lose any vestige of public trust, and it will undergo a deterioration of its professionality, damage to its ability to fight crime and corruption, and lead to the flight of excellent officers who will not want to be judged by politicians."

Omer Bar-Lev

"Behind the empty slogans of 'strengthening the police,' these are measures that aim to further undermine the authority of the senior command and the status of the police, and to hell with the country. We will all pay the price," Bar-Lev added.