National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir on Thursday evening conducted his first visit to Nafcha prison for dangerous security prisoners in the Negev, which is run by the Israel Prison Service, under his domain. Ben Gvir was shown the new wings that had been built last year for security prisoners, with features that make it difficult for them to escape.
The new wings are adapted to a ruling of the High Court of Justice regarding sufficient living space for all prisoners. Minister Ben Gvir’s visit was intended to make sure that the conditions afforded the security prisoners had not been improved.
The minister’s hosts, IPS Commissioner Major-General Katy Perry and the IPS senior command staff, present the new features following the renovation: each cell houses six prisoners in three bunk beds; the entire cell floor is cemented; and the Israeli flag is hoisted permanently at the entrance to each wing.
Minister Ben Gvir later issued a statement saying: “I arrived at Nafha prison last night to make sure that the murderers of Jews do not receive better conditions following the construction of new cells, and I was happy to see that the prison service does not intend to improve their conditions. I will continue to take care of the incarceration conditions of the security prisoners so that they do not receive special privileges.”
The Nafha correctional facility, located some 10 miles north of Mitzpe Ramon, was established in 1980 to incarcerate dangerous security prisoners, and isolating from population centers. Nafha holds the most difficult prisoners, including about 700 terrorists who committed particularly serious offenses (with blood on their hands – DI), and another hundred serious criminal prisoners, most of whom serve time for murder and drug offenses.
In June 2002, a Hamas prisoner stabbed the commander of Nafha prison, Lieutenant General Albert Abuhatzera, and two of his subordinates. In October 2015, the commander of the prison’s commander Shimon Bibes was dismissed following the smuggling of cell phones into the prison.