Gallant and Ben-Gvir Divided over the Establishment of National Guard

Tel Aviv, MINA – Differences of opinion between the Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant and Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir regarding the formation of a new security agency, the National Guard, have become public.

Israel’s Channel 12 reported that Gallant sent a letter with sharp words to Ben-Gvir last Thursday, expressing his opposition to the establishment of the National Guard as an agency separate from the police.

“The creation of a new Israeli security agency will cause huge problems and divide the entire security system. There is no place for private militias in Israel,” Gallant said as quoted by the Middle East Monitor on Sunday.

In March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to Ben-Gvir’s request to set up a National Guard under his authority.

At the time, the opposition warned, the decision amounted to creating a private militia or private army under Ben-Gvir’s command and with the aim of harming Arab citizens in Israel.

Channel 12 said a committee set up by the Israeli government to consider establishing the National Guard had met ten times since its first meeting in June.

“During the discussions that took place, many security experts appeared before the committee, some of whom were high-ranking in the Israeli army,” Channel 12 said.

The channel quoted experts as saying the creation of the National Guard, which would report directly to the minister and not the police and border guards would be “disastrous”.

“The same experts also argued before the committee that this seriously endangers Israel’s security,” the channel added.

Channel 12 notes sources in the security apparatus believe, in the opinion of the committee that the chances of recommending the creation of the National Guard as a separate body appear to be zero and there is strong opposition to this move.

However, right-wing party leader Otzma Yehudit Ben-Gvir attacked the defense minister, telling the channel: “Minister Gallant has developed a bad habit; he sends letters to the media then delivers them to our office.”

“We have not received Minister Gallant’s message that was published in the media tonight (Thursday). Actually, the committee has not yet formulated its recommendation, but we suggest that he should not meddle in matters that have no meaning to him,” he added.

Ben-Gvir added that Netanyahu agreed with him to set up a national guard in Israel and stated: “They will decide, and not Minister Gallant, how the guard will operate. We ask Gallant, who is trying to hinder legal reforms and is busy pursuing settlers, not to interfere in National Guard matters. The committee is in the process of completing its work and will submit its recommendations within a month and a half.”

The police are under the responsibility of Israel’s Minister of National Security, while the army is under the Minister of Defence. (T/RE1/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)