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.”