Israel National Guard 'could allow Ben Gvir to stage coup': ex-police chief

Israel National Guard 'could allow Ben Gvir to stage coup': ex-police chief
A former Israeli police chief has joined a chorus of voices criticising Itamar Ben Gvir's proposed National Guard, saying it could allow the extremist minister to take over the country.
3 min read
02 April, 2023
Ben Gvir is known for his racist and violent approach towards Palestinians [RONEN ZVULUN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

A former Israeli police chief has warned that extremist security minister Itamar Ben Gvir could use the country’s proposed ‘National Guard’ force to lead a coup against the government.

Moshe Karadi, who led Israel’s police between 2004 and 2007, warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against giving Ben Gvir so much power, saying that he "will use it against him one day." 

Karadi joins a chorus of former police officials warning the Israeli state against Ben Gvir’s plans to create the new armed force.

The Prime Minister "should learn a little bit of history and see what happens in countries in which politicians have their own armed forces,” Karadi said at a speaking event according to the Times of Israel.

“It’s a short distance between this and the fact that he, with this power, could take over the Prime Minister’s Office and launch a coup."

Ben Gvir has proposed the formation of a new 2,000-strong civil militia that will be directly under his ministry’s control, arguing it would be used to tackle “nationalist crime" and "terrorism" and be used for"restoring governance where needed". 

The security minister on Saturday sparked alarm by urging football hooligans known for their anti-Palestinian violence to join the country’s nascent National Guard.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 13 on Saturday, Ben Gvir called on members of La Familia - a racist group of fans of Israeli Premier League club Beitar Jerusalem - to join the new force.

The group have become notorious in Israel in recent years for their attacks on Palestinians.

Ben Gvir had earlier complained that Israeli security forces were not as responsive as desired to his commands in repressing Palestinian protests in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and argued the need for a special force under his control.

Palestinians however fear the new force would be a "new tool for settlers’ violence" and would "support the state in committing new crimes against Palestinian communities and controlling more land."

Civil rights groups have also expressed concerns, saying that such an armed force under a government ministry could politicize policing further and undermine law enforcement in the country. 


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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised Ben-Gvir the new civil militia in exchange for an agreement to pause controversial judicial overhaul plans, which have put increasing pressure on the prime minister and caused mass protests across Israel.

Ben Gvir is known for his racism and incitement against Palestinians, and has repeatedly called for Israel to formally annex illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. 

On his watch, at least 90 Palestinians have been killed in near-daily Israeli raids on the occupied West Bank since the beginning of the year, according to the Palestinian health ministry.