Subordinating Police Commissioner to National Security Minister: Severe Injury to Equality Before the Law

>> Read the full Position Paper

This position paper is submitted to a special Knesset committee on the proposal to establish the Commissioner’s subordination to the Minister of National Security as well as the Minister’s authority to outline policy and establish general principles regarding the duration of case processing. Zulat’s position is that the proposed amendment severely violates equality before the law.

The proposed amendment will legitimize and exacerbate existent problems in the Israel Police with regard to profiling and policy on the use of force and selective enforcement vis-à-vis minorities, disadvantaged groups, and demonstrators espousing certain political views. These problems have been documented in countless governmental and non-governmental reports, but instead of dealing with them, the proposed amendment will only exacerbate and legitimize them.

The State of Israel is obligated to uphold equality in all stages of a criminal procedure, given that this might determine a person’s fate, with all people being equal before the law and entitled to equal protection under the law without any discrimination. This ranges from the decision to arrest or detain a person, check identification papers, launch an investigation, search or seize property, and file an indictment, all the way to prosecution and criminal trialThe proposed amendment will allow the Minister of National Security to direct the police to carry out enforcement against an individual or certain population groups based on such considerations as religion, ethnicity, nationality, sex, gender, personal hostility, or political rivalry. The Minister of National Security is a politician, therefore inherently and permanently finds himself in a conflict of interests. Without explicitly saying so, the minister would be able to steer Israel Police’s enforcement and investigation policy in a way that would serve his political and personal interests or the government’s by, say, prioritizing “increased” enforcement vis-a-vis certain population groups or in certain regions of the country.

For example, 36 hours before Election Day in April 2019, Itamar Ben-Gvir (then a prospective MK) exhorted Hilltop Youth and their families to vote for him, promising in exchange to secure them immunity from criminal prosecution and asserting that “State Attorney’s officers who declared war on the settlements will have to find new jobs.” In addition to his promise to grant immunity to far-right activists, Minister Ben-Gvir has repeatedly written on social media that the Israel Police should investigate human rights and Left activists, whom he dubs “anarchists,” and that he supports a bill submitted by his fellow party member MK Almog Cohen to jail “anarchists” who, so he alleges, do not let IDF soldiers do their job.The proposed amendment will allow the Minister of National Security to order the Israel Police to use force in a selective, racist, and political fashion.

Therefore, Zulat recommends to the MKs representing the democratic public:

  • Refuse to legitimize Israel Police’s politicization and selective enforcement.
  • Although the proposal deals specifically with the Minister of National Security’s powers, it is inseparable from the comprehensive move to effect a regime revolution. Its approval would complete the politicization of the Israel Police in tandem with Justice Minister Levin’s plan to fully politicize the justice system.
  • MKs must refuse to engage in a debate before the government reveals all the “chapters” of the package of legislative amendments that it intends to promote based on the coalition agreements. The “salami method” is designed to confuse MKs and the public regarding the comprehensive move planned by the government to effect a regime revolution.

 

Join our newsletter
Clipboard01.jpg

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.

פרופסור-אמריטה.jpg
 

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.

WhatsApp-Image-2020-05-17-at-20.39.21

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.

 

18076724_10154573442149677_1211984367607245921_o-1

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.