Several former senior members of Israel’s security establishment gathered at a conference on Tuesday in Tel Aviv to discuss what they dubbed as the deterioration of personal and domestic security in Israel.
The conference, organized by Maj. Gen. (res.) MK Yoav Gallant together with Im Tirtzu, focused on Israel’s domestic security situation in the wake of the May 2021 riots in mixed Jewish and Arab cities. It featured former Shin Bet Director MK Avi Dichter, former MK and Israel Border Police commander David Tzur, Maj. Gen. (res.) Israel Ziv, Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon HaCohen, Brig. Gen. (res.) Amir Avivi, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, and Lt. Col. Boaz Kokia.
Avivi is the founder of HaBithonistim, whose stated mission is “Applying sovereignty and strengthening governance in the Land of Israel, as well as the right of the State of Israel to defend itself within its safe borders”; Kokia is affiliated with the Choosing Life Forum of Bereaved Families.
Of course, having been involved in Israel’s security, these gentlemen share responsibility for the “domestic security crisis,” some of them directly, as I’ll show here.
“If rapid action is not taken to halt the crime and violence, there is a large concern that Israel’s domestic security issues will escalate to the point where our security forces would lose control,” MK Gallant told the conference.
It should be noted that Gallant served as Minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s government during the May 2021 riots and shared responsibility for the tepid response to the widespread criminal violations that included arson and even murder.
“If we lose the Negev and the Galilee, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will also be lost. The nationalistic crime that is rampant and is consuming all parts of the Negev and Galilee is spreading and will end up reaching the center of the country,” Gallant said on Tuesday.
Gallant accused the current government of not doing enough to curb the violence and said that “forming a government with Ra’am, the party of the Muslim Brotherhood in Israel, gives legitimacy and a sense of security to those who are convinced they are the masters of the land.”
Again, it should be noted that it was then-Prime Minister Netanyahu who was first to give legitimacy to Ra’am, hosting its chairman, MK Mansur Abas at his official residence in Jerusalem, hoping to lure him into his coalition government. It was only the stubborn objection of Religious Zionism Chairman Bezalel Smotrich that kept the “party of the Muslim Brotherhood in Israel” out of a right-wing coalition government.
MK Dichter said: “The violence and crime in Israel in general, and specifically in the Arab sector, needs to be declared a national crisis; not just a verbal declaration, but an operative declaration. When you declare a national crisis, you need to engage in an all-out war in which everyone is enlisted. This is not only the mission of the Israel Police. The Shin Bet and the IDF need to also take responsibility.”
In June 2021, MK Dichter called on the right-wing opposition parties to put aside their battle with the Lapid-Bennett government when it comes to protecting Israel against the legalized infiltration of potentially subversive PA Arabs. Dichter urged his colleagues to support the temporary law which required renewal every year, and which he was involved in promoting in 2003, “stipulates that, as a rule, Israeli citizenship will not be granted to a resident of Judea, Samaria or Gaza, as well as to a resident of the enemy states of Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.” Alas, the right-wing opposition decided to ignore Israel’s vital security needs and voted against renewal. Dichter obeyed his party and voted against the very law he said was vital to the country’s security.
Maj. Gen. (res.) Ziv said that what had taken place in the Negev over the past few weeks is not only a crime issue, it is also a national concern.
“We are seeing the Islamic radicalization of the Bedouin population and a nationalistic trend that’s uncontrollable,” Ziv warned. “We are living in a time of a weak Israeli leadership, and if we continue down this road the ‘small’ problem we have now will turn into another Iranian problem.”
David Tzur said: “When the Israel Police decided to take out the Jewish crime organizations – it succeeded. We need to give the police the tools necessary [to take out the Arab crime organizations]. Eighty percent of the police budget goes to salaries, and of the remaining 20 percent, 15 goes to maintenance. That leaves only five percent of the budget for operations. You can’t work this way, it requires significant change.”
Maj. Gen. (res.) HaCohen also called for declaring a national state of emergency.
“We are at war, and unfortunately our leadership and Israeli society are doing everything to deny the situation. There is a fight against the State of Israel’s ability to exercise its sovereignty. What erupted in May 2021 stemmed from a general feeling among a segment of Israeli Arabs that their time has come. We need to go on the offensive against these post-Zionist trends.”
Brig. Gen. Avivi said: “We are witnessing two vectors that are growing stronger and will meet in a year or two. The first is the Palestinian-Arab war against Israel, and the other is Iran’s strategic race for the bomb. We can be faced with riots throughout the entire country for which the IDF is not prepared.”
Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg said: “Our security is deteriorating because we are always concerned about not upsetting the Arabs. If we get used to that situation, it will bring us back to a situation far worse than the UN Partition Plan. We could be leaving scorched earth for the next generations. We will only overcome these challenges if we believe in the righteousness of our cause and act accordingly.”
I’m not sure how the Israeli government can turn these recommendations into policy. Also, the 1947 UN partition plan gave the Arabs much more land than even the most generous version of the Oslo Accords. For the situation to get “far worse than the UN Partition Plan” there would have to be a PA conquest of parts of green-line Israel. I’m not sure believing in the “righteousness of our cause” should involve this much hyperbole. Take a look: