The police expressed outrage that National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and his office are recording personal conversations he had with police chief Kobi Shabtai, after N12 published comments from such a meeting, in which the police chief was heard stating that Arabs "kill each other, it's their nature."
"The police are shocked that the minister and his office are recording personal conversations between the minister and the chief, and are outraged that things were taken out of context in a conversation that dealt with behavior patterns in Arab society that does not reveal the identity of the murderers even when it is known to the relatives of the victims. This conduct calls into question the ability of the police to report to the minister without fearing the disclosure of sources and the distortion of the conversations," said the police.
The meeting between the chief and Ben-Gvir took place last week following murders in the Arab sector. The minister demanded to understand what steps are being taken on the issue, saying: "This crosses all lines." The chief replied: "There is nothing to be done. They are murdering each other. This is their nature. This is the mentality of the Arabs." In response, Ben-Gvir said to him: "Chief, this can be stopped, the murder of both Arabs and Jews must be prevented."
The sharp reaction of the police comes against the background of a serious dispute between the chief and the minister, which these days is at its peak following the decision to establish a national guard at Ben-Gvir's request.
Earlier on Tuesday, Shabtai expressed opposition to the establishment of the guard, saying that it is a dangerous step that will harm the security of the citizens.
"It is no secret that I expressed my professional reservations and warned the national security minister that establishing a National Guard that would be subordinate to his office is an unnecessary move that will lead to a very heavy price - to the point of harming the personal security of the citizens," he said.
Police say leaked comments are 'partial'
The police stressed that the leaked comments "are partial and create a distorted picture."
"In the conversation, the minister and the chief talked about two specific bloody conflicts and not about the Arab sector as a whole. Anyone who knows the chief also knows his good and close relations with the Arab sector on all levels," said the police.
"From his first day in the role of chief, Kobi Shabtai set for Israel Police the goal of fighting crime on the Arab street as a top priority, with an unprecedented investment of resources, technology and manpower," added the police. "All of this was engaged in a stubborn, determined and uncompromising fight against the crime organizations on the Arab street and the perpetrators of crime with the aim of strengthening the governance and the sense of security of the public, the majority of which is a normative and law-abiding population. Any other interpretation is wrong and serves those who wish to harm the Commissioner in particular and the Israel Police in general. Police chief Kobi Shabtai will continue to act resolutely for the security of Arab society in Israel."
Arab politicians express outrage at Shabtai's comments
Following the publication of the conversations between Ben-Gvir and Shabtai, the Hadash party stated: "Ben-Gvir and Shabtai do not deserve to be entrusted with the security of the Arab citizens. The chief and the national security minister have once again demonstrated a moral and professional failure by leaking the conversations that were published tonight on Channel 12."
"Ben-Gvir is using the blood of Arab citizens to promote his fascist plans for the establishment of National Guard militias, and Shabtai at the same time disclaims responsibility on the grounds that Arab culture is violent! They know very well that violence in Arab society has only been rampant in the last two decades mainly due to the government's policy of neglect and discrimination that allowed organized crime gangs to grow within Arab society without interference, with the direct involvement of Arab Shin Bet agents in the activities of these gangs."
MK Ayman Odeh expressed outrage at the leaked comments, tweeting "The number of Palestinians killed in Israel is 7 times more than the number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan, as a result of the crime. This is not the nature of the Palestinians, it is the nature of the racist establishment. Anywhere else in the world, a racist chief like Shabtai would be fired in an instant. Shabtai - resign!"