Debate on Ben-Gvir Law: No Integration of Policy But Integration of Political Agenda in Policemen’s Minds

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On 18 and 19 December 2022, a special Knesset committee met to discuss “Amendment of Police Ordinance (Powers,)” a private bill submitted by MK Itamar Ben-Gvir on the eve of the formation of the new government, aimed at regulating as soon as possible his powers as Minister of Public Security vis-à-vis the Israel Police. Opposition MKs and representatives of civil society came to the hearings to express their strong opposition to this hasty legislation.

Zulat’s Executive Director Einat Ovadia said: “Zulat opposes this bill and all its articles. This is not at all an integration of policy, but an integration of a political agenda in the minds of police officers meant to illustrate to them which side their bread is buttered on now. This law, even in its softened iteration, signals to policemen how they should behave in the field. There is real fear that it will lead to a violation of the principle of equality before the law and to selective enforcement.

“In our view, it is mandatory that the text of the law should specify the matters of principle that constitute policy where the minister may intervene. There must be no situation where specific issues, such as the dispersal of demonstrations or open-fire guidelines, are regarded as matters of principle, or else there will be selective enforcement vis-à-vis disadvantaged minorities and poorly represented groups in Israeli politics. Members of the Knesset, don’t give up! Show up for every meeting and allow us to state our case! We will support you in all the reservations you file against this law!”

Backing Zulat’s position, MK Michal Shir (Yesh Atid) said: “Zulat drew my attention to the need to add to the law a definition of the matters of principle that would be under the minister’s authority in order to avoid a situation where specific issues are considered matters of principle, thereby leading to selective enforcement.”

 

 

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Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi

 

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.

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Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.

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Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.

 

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Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.