Israeli Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai on Thursday refused to step down as far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir reportedly plans to sack him over deep differences between the two.
I have no intention of leaving office, the police chief said in an interview with Channel 12, which will air in full this Saturday night.
The statements were made hours after MP Tzvika Fogel made statements to a local radio station.
Fogel, a member of the extremist Otzma Yehudit party led by Ben Gvir, said the minister could change Shabtai.
“We didn’t come here to evict or kick people out, but if (Shabtai) doesn’t get used to the new style at some point, then there won’t be any other option. In such cases, say goodbye,” threatened the parliamentarian.
The latest clash between the two officers occurred a week ago, when Ben Gvir publicly criticized Jerusalem Police Chief Doron Turgeman for failing to use force to disperse protesters, who burned tires and blocked roads.
The politician accused the police of “losing control of the city to the anarchists,” a term he uses to refer to left-wing or anti-government sectors protesting against the executive branch.
His comments prompted an immediate response from Shabtai, who supported the officers and regretted that disagreements over police strategy were being aired publicly.
He also defended Turgeman, praising him for “standing his ground and handling the protest with discretion”.
Ben Gvir also called for a major operation in occupied East Jerusalem after a recent Palestinian attack, which the chief of the armed corps dismissed as counterproductive.
The Times of Israel newspaper revealed days ago that the minister was stepping up his attempts to undermine Shabtai by announcing he would assemble a group of former officers to “help the commissioner, who is struggling to deal with protests and crimes on the road to finish”.
Corps officers reacted angrily to the measure, the news agency stressed.
Known for his openly racist and anti-Arab positions, for years before he became a parliamentarian, Ben Gvir kept in his living room a photo of Baruch Goldstein murdering 29 Palestinians in the Cave of the Patriarchs in 1994.
Taken from the Latin Press