Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Public Security Minister Omer Barlev were joined by Israel Police Inspector General Commissioner Koby Shabtai and Border Police Commander Deputy Commissioner Amir Cohen on Tuesday (June 21) in announcing the launch of ‘the Israel National Guard’ as part of the Border Police.
The move comes as a response to lessons learned from last year’s Operation Guardians of the Walls.
“I came into office as Israel was licking its wounds from Operation Guardians of the Walls. We saw severe disturbances in Lod, Acre and around the country, and everyone got it. We all understood that while we were talking about Iran and Hezbollah, the problem begins at home,” Bennett said.
The Israel National Guard will be a trained and skilled force, able to operate in several areas simultaneously and deal with disturbances and emergency scenarios, Bennett said.
“The goal is to triple the overall strength of the Border Police units: The Hod company almost tenfold and the reserves threefold. The conscript units will also be increased.”
The Border Police and the Israel National Guard will be composed of three types of forces:
- The conscript and professional Border Police force, which in the course of the current year has been strengthened by an unprecedented hundreds of members.
- A reserve force that has been re-established. In addition to the 20 current combat companies, another approximately 26 combat companies will be added in the coming years, of which eight are already in place and are to be equipped with advanced means. The establishment of the reserve force will be carried out in three stages within two years.
- A volunteer force to include:
– The ‘standing force’, which is currently composed of 8,000 volunteers on the periphery, will be strengthened by approximately 1,500 volunteers in 2022-2023.
– A new and skilled volunteer force – the Hod company – will be established. It will be composed of over 1,000 reservists by the end of 2022 and will double itself to 2,000 members in 2023. The Hod company members will be trained to deal with disturbances and emergency scenarios. Members will keep equipment at home and be available for immediate action.
The Israel Police civil guard will also be strengthened by approximately 3,500 additional volunteers at existing stations in order to expand readiness on the streets and strengthen the sense of security on a daily basis.
“I cannot exaggerate the importance of this because we cannot go to war abroad if the country is shaky, blocked and coming apart from within,” Bennett noted.
“Today it is clear to everyone it is not enough to strengthen the military arm of the State of Israel, in all its systems and capabilities. We must also improve and increase the strength of the Israel Police in its responsibility for the public security of the country,” Shabtai added.