National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s lawlessness knows no bounds. After trying to take over the police, reprimanding senior and less senior police officers and trying to intervene in the police’s operations, it now turns out that he appointed as chief of staff a former Shin Bet security service intelligence target, who is working to dismantle the police from within.
Chanamel Dorfman is a onetime “hilltop youth” – the radical, often violent settlers from illegal outposts – who was banned from the West Bank by the head of the army’s Central Command and the Shin Bet. He became famous for being one of the guests who danced with weapons and a picture of a murdered Palestinian baby at the wedding of the daughter of the head of the Jewish supremacist Lehava organization, Benzi Gopstein. Now he has become all-powerful in the National Security Ministry and the police.
The results of this nightmare are evident on the ground. There has been a sharp rise in murders in the Arab community, a lack of operative plans in the National Security Ministry and chaos in the police.
In the absence of a responsible adult, it’s no surprise that the Supreme Court, as always, stood up to protect the police from the tyranny of the minister and his right-hand man. In an unusual but necessary move, Justice Isaac Amit issued a sharply worded ruling that bars Ben-Gvir from intervening in police officers’ operational decisions.
This followed efforts by Ben-Gvir first to force the Tel Aviv police chief, Ami Eshed, to use an iron fist against demonstrators in Tel Aviv and then, after Eshed refused to bow to his authority, to oust him. The court did what Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai should have done – stop Ben-Gvir and his aide from entering the police’s forward command posts at the height of the protests against the government’s planned legal overhaul. But given Shabtai’s weakness and Ben-Gvir’s lack of restraint, the court was forced to come to the police’s assistance.
Dorfman’s effrontery toward senior police officers and the police commissioner has already led one senior officer to quit. His conduct, combined with Ben-Gvir’s lack of restraint and the court’s unusual decision, provide additional proof that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has no control over his government. Netanyahu cannot stop Ben-Gvir from running amok.
In this situation, it’s no surprise that the Supreme Court, which has been forced to curb the politicians, has become the last dike protecting us from complete chaos – chaos that would be led by the real anarchists now sitting in the National Security Ministry, the Justice Ministry and the office of the chairman of the Knesset Constitution Committee.
The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.