Supreme Court Judge Yitzhak Amit, who is expected to become court president in October, should the seniority system remain unchanged, on Sunday adopted an opinion submitted by Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, and ordered National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to “refrain from giving operative instructions to the police, either directly or indirectly, and this is especially true regarding protests and demonstrations against the government.”
Judge Amit stressed that “these matters and details are subject to the operative discretion of the professional ranks of the police and commanders in the field, according to the changing circumstances and conditions in the field.”
At the same time, the judge rejected a request for an injunction that would ban Ben Gvir from interfering in general with the work of the police in anti-government protests once it was agreed by all parties, including Ben Gvir, that “discretion on how to use the force is left to the commanders in the field.”
The ruling was made in response to requests for interim injunctions submitted by the Association for Civil Rights and the Movement for Quality Government, which called for ordering Ben Gvir to refrain from outlining policy and giving instructions in any matter concerning the exercise of the right to demonstrate and the freedom of protest.
Judge Amit ruled that Ben Gvir is not allowed to give “operational instructions regarding the ways to implement his policy, the manner of using force in this or that event, the ways of using force, the means of dispersing demonstrations, and the conditions regarding the time, place and manner of organizing the event.”
He warned that “even a ‘mention’ of the policy during a concrete operational event while it is still ongoing, may be interpreted as an operative directive.”
At the same time, the judge recognized that “the minister is entitled to outline policies and general principles for the Israel Police, including concerning demonstrations and the blocking and opening of traffic routes.”
On Thursday, AG Baharav-Miara, representing the state regarding the requests for an injunction against Ben Gvir (who wanted to represent himself but was forbidden to do so without permission from the AG), told the High Court that “there is a real concern that Ben Gvir’s conduct crossed a boundary line, and constituted an attempt to interfere with the professional and independent judgment reserved to the command level of the police in the field.”
The AG stressed that this happened “even in real-time in relation to individual events concerning the protests that are taking place against the government these days.”
She told the court that in her opinion, Minister Ben Gvir is not allowed to give operative instructions to the police regarding the demonstrations against the judicial reform, directly or indirectly, “even when they are given in the guise of so-called policy instructions.”
Just minutes after the judge ruled against him, Ben-Gvir ordered the police to video all uses of the water cannon against protesters.