Administrative arrests: a dictatorial regime’s weapon against the public

>> Read the full Position Paper

This position paper is a response to the private bill expected to be discussed by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on 2.7.23 proposes to give the Minister of National Security the authority to issue administrative arrest warrants within the territories of the State of Israel for vague reasons of public security. In addition, it proposes to impose restrictions on a person’s liberties, such as movement within the state and exit from it, prohibiting Internet use, prohibition of work or employment in a specific place, an obligation to live in one particular location, and more. This follows Amendment 37 to the Police Ordinance [New Version], 1971, which already officially anchored the politicization of the police by subjecting it to the Minister of National Security and also solidified the Minister’s authority to formulate policy and determine the enforcement and investigation policy of the police.

Zulat opposes the administrative arrest of any person. Although international law permits preventive arrests in exceptional security circumstances, these arrests contradict every person’s fundamental right to a fair trial and the rights to dignity, freedom, and equality. Already today, the State of Israel makes extensive use of the tool of administrative detention to hold in mass detention Palestinians, men, women, and even children, without conducting legal proceedings against them, without presenting evidence at the required level, and without giving them and their representatives a real opportunity to defend themselves and respond to the evidence.

The proposal befits dictatorial regimes such as China, Russia, Vietnam, Venezuela, and Belarus, which use such tools for internal purposes. In these countries, preventive arrests are frequently used to limit the freedoms of human rights activists, opposition activists, minorities, and journalists – who criticize the regimes and undermine them – and to deter others from joining the opposition. In Israel, the proposal comes at a time of heightened security threats, compounded by the failure of law enforcement agencies to deal with crime in Arab society. This context will justify the severe violation of the rights of the Arab minority and other minorities and protesters against the government.


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.


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.


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.



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.