The Minister of National Security and the Commissioner addressed the issue of political statements within the police force during the changing of commanders ceremony of the Border Guard. Ben Gvir stated, "We must act according to the policy set by the people, that's how it works in a democracy."
During the ceremony, Commissioner Kobi Shabtai stated, "We have one professional, ethical, and non-political police force. In recent days, the question arises about the compass guiding the police's actions. I want to make it clear that the police have only one compass, and that is the law. At least as long as I am in command, the law will decide, and it will operate accordingly."
In response to Shabtai's words, Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said, "The Commissioner is correct. Our police force is non-political. It must operate in a non-political, national, and legal manner. The law, democracy's principles, and its foundations teach us that the people go to the polls, express their will, and those elected officials must determine policies. This policy should guide all of us. That's how it works in a democracy. People go to elections, politicians are elected, and the policies they set should lead all of us."
The police: "One must not express a political position when entering his position"
As a reminder, at the beginning of the week, the police clarified its position on political expressions among volunteers during their duty. "In recent days, numerous publications have been circulating regarding the guidelines of the Operations Division for volunteer activity in protests. Against the backdrop of these various publications, we wish to clarify that a police volunteer is a civilian who volunteers to assist police activities. As part of their activity, volunteers are often required to wear uniforms and/or identification that represents the Israel Police and law enforcement system."
"We would like to emphasize that the police do not restrict their volunteers from expressing their opinions on any topic, including matters of protest taking place in the State of Israel. However, upon assuming their role, the volunteer takes on the status of a police officer, which includes being granted permission to use various authorities. Therefore, the volunteer is not permitted to express a political stance or opinion, whether in their capacity or during media interviews."
As reported earlier this month, the police revealed their data regarding volunteers' refusal on the backdrop of the judicial reform: "Contrary to incorrect publications and in continuation of your inquiries: The Israel Police has received 54 requests from volunteers to suspend their volunteering within the police force. Additionally, the Israel Police has removed 10 volunteer positions from individuals who identified as police volunteers and expressed political opinions, even using their volunteer position for this purpose." According to them, "The current number stands at 64 volunteers out of a system of approximately 24,600 volunteers – or in other words, 0.2% of the system."
In the Israel Police, there are 24,600 volunteers who view their volunteering as a mission and work side by side with Israeli police officers in numerous tasks for the benefit and security of the public. The police statement added, "The Israel Police would be happy to see all the volunteers return to voluntary service in the ranks of the police."