Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has agreed with Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir on the establishment of a National Guard, following his demand for it. The National Guard will be directly subordinate to Ben Gvir, allowing him to issue instructions in the field. However, the budget and number of employees to be recruited are unclear. The coalition was only able to approve the state budget proposal for 2023-2024 in the first reading after the agreement on the establishment of the National Guard. Earlier, Ben Gvir objected to providing the votes of members of the Knesset from his party in favor of the budget before he received an adequate return. Following the agreement on the National Guard, Ben Gvir agreed to remove the veto for the postponement of the legislation of the coup d’état laws. The police expressed concerns that the National Guard would harm them, so it was agreed to increase police units in the meantime. It is unclear if Netanyahu will fulfill his promise to establish the National Guard or postpone it until the next crisis.
The National Guard will be directly subordinate to Ben Gabir himself, and not to the Police Commissioner. This way, Ben Gabir will be able to issue instructions in the field to the commander of the National Guard, a move that was recently prevented by Supreme Court Judge Yitzhak Amit. In the petition filed against Ben Gabir, Amit stated that “there is no minister is entitled to give operational instructions regarding the ways to implement his policy, the manner of using force in this or that incident and everything else, even mentioning the Minister’s policy during an ongoing operational incident may be considered an operative instruction to the forces.”
The moves to establish a national guard may be prolonged, as is the recruitment of new police officers for the guard, when the scope of the budget and the number of employees to be recruited are not yet clear. Only after the agreement between Netanyahu and Ben Gvir on the establishment of the National Guard was the coalition able to approve the state budget proposal for 2023-2024 in the first reading.
Earlier, Ben Gvir objected to providing the votes of members of the Knesset from his party in favor of the budget before he received an adequate return, for agreeing to postpone the legislation of the coup d’état laws until the summer session of the Knesset that began in May. Following the agreement on the establishment of the National Guard, Ben Gvir announced that “I agreed to remove the veto for the postponement of the legislation, in exchange for Netanyahu’s commitment that the legislation will be brought to the Knesset for approval in the next session, if no agreements are reached during the recess.”
Immediately after the approval of the budget by the government on January 24, Ben Gabir appeared in front of the cameras together with Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and announced the establishment of the National Guard. This scenario has one solution – the establishment of a National Guard. The Commissioner was not enthusiastic, to say the least, about the establishment of the new body which will be directly subordinate to the Minister of National Security and not to the Commissioner. A fear was expressed in the police that the National Guard would harm the police, so it was agreed that in the meantime, police units would be increased. At the last moment before the budget was approved by the government at the end of January, Ben Gabir agreed with the Treasury to give a grant of NIS 25,000 to every new police officer who joins the police. But the police are working to torpedo the awarding of the grant on the grounds that this will harm the “blue” police and the recruitment of police officers to it. Now it is not clear if Netanyahu will actually fulfill his promise to establish the National Guard or if he will try to text it until the next crisis.