The Negev Rescue Committee describes itself as an apolitical organization of Negev residents designed to rescue the Negev from the problem of personal insecurity. Their Facebook page declares: “We are all worried parents, siblings, grandparents, who see the Negev dissolving between our fingers. We’re done being naive! We’re done being silent, we’ve launched an uncompromising war. A war for our home and the security of the Negev. We will not accept our fate and we will not sit idly by. Jews and Bedouin who are unwilling to accept the crime cartels, the protection, the rape, the street shootings, the crazy driving on the roads, and the terrorism.”
But three months after the announcement of establishing a police volunteer unit to boost the personal security of Negev residents, after 130 people had enlisted and donations were collected, last Tuesday, the police announced the cancellation of the project.
Following the police’s decision, the Negev Rescue Committee announced that if the police were not with them, they would operate armed militias on their own, acting in accordance with the law, to boost security in the Negev.
“The Israel Police has once again proven it’s a messy, rotten organization, which mostly betrays the public’s trust,” the committee said.
Israel Police is in trouble. Last January, Globes reported that the number of resignations from the police in 2021 had reached about 600, almost double the year before. And the trend appears to continue in 2022. The list of complaints is very long: long working hours without adequate compensation, high overtime without special pay, no monitory rewards for excellence, abuse by commanders over the heavy workload and no one to turn to for relief, excessive demands to meet the statistics and metrics that are set regardless of the situation on the ground, lack of backup from higher up in cases of complaints, a bad public image, citizens’ contempt for the uniformed police officers, and the wage ceiling agreement that was signed with the union last September.
The Negev Rescue Committee posted on Thursday: “Not only is the wave of resignations in the Negev and the Southern District growing continuously, but they are actually giving up on a significant resource for reinforcement by 130 people, the salt of the earth, who have left families, homes, and jobs and came to volunteer to strengthen the Israeli police. This is pure sadism.”
The post continued: “We emphasize, again and again, we have not half a complaint against the policemen who are performing a holy work. They have been screaming about the collapse for a long time and no one takes notice. We have now experienced their plight firsthand.”
The group added: “Here’s a small anecdote – during the recent riots over the KKL-JNF tree planting in the Negev, a policeman called us asking for help at 1:30 in the morning while Bedouin rioters were throwing stones at him. We called an MK who immediately responded to our request. These excellent police officer filed his resignation last week.”
Israel Police responded: “Israel Police has announced that it will not take part in the proposed initiative and the commander of the Southern District will not take part in the scheduled conference after we clarified that the Civil Service Law prohibits fundraising for this purpose.”
Last week, the Negev Rescue Committee tweeted:
“Tonight, again stone-throwing on Route 25.
15 minutes from the Nuclear Research Campus.
5 minutes from Nevatim Air Force base.
If we have to, we’ll shut down Beer Sheva again.”
הערב שוב זריקות אבנים בכביש 25.
15 דקות מהקרייה למחקר גרעיני.
5 דקות מבסיס חיה”א נבטים.
אם ניאלץ, שוב נחסום את העיר ב”ש. @amit_segal @naftalibennett @Ayelet__Shaked @IL_police @MKmeircohen pic.twitter.com/AnQYzJsR3u
— הוועד להצלת הנגב (@negevsavers) March 12, 2022