A senior Israeli military commander was reprimanded by the IDF for an unauthorized meeting with Minister of Public Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, an IDF spokesperson confirmed on Thursday morning.
Col. Avinoam Emunah, a decorated officer who commands both the IDF’s Tactical Command College and Hermon Brigade met with Ben-Gvir to discuss the possibility of an appointment as commander of a National Guard (Mishmar Leumi) Ben-Gvir is trying to establish.
Although Col. Emunah is expected to retire from the military in six months, his meeting with Ben-Gvir was without the knowledge or approval of the IDF brass. Military orders prohibit direct contact between officers and the senior political leaders.
The IDF said in a statement, “The investigation was carried out after it became clear that the officer met with the Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir. According to the findings, the officer met with the minister without coordination and approval as required, in violation of the prohibition on direct contact between IDF officers and the senior political echelon. Therefore, the officer was reprimanded by the commander of the military colleges.”
The statement added that Col. Emunah “took responsibility for his actions and acknowledged the seriousness of the act.”
Emuna was previously the commander of the 101st Paratrooper Battalion during Operation Protective Edge for which he received a medal, as well as a commander of the special forces Maglan unit.
On April 2, the government authorized the creation of the National Guard, an auxiliary police force, which would take several months to establish. However, the government held off on giving Ben-Gvir direct control of it. Chief of Police Kobi Shabtai supports the establishment of the unit, but wants it under his own control.
The previous government of Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett advanced plans for an auxiliary police force to deal with Arab-Israeli cities following riots in May 2021. However, the government collapsed before the plans could be completed.