Adalah and the High Follow up Committee Petition the Supreme Court against the amendment subordinating the Police to National Security Minister Ben Gvir

The petitioners argue that the Minister’s actions during his first months in office reinforce the notion that the amendment politicizes the police, that it is contrary to the fundamental principles of the rule of law, and that it is aimed at increasing racist enforcement against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, filed a petition to the Supreme Court, on 17 April 2023, demanding the cancellation of Amendment No. 37 to the Police Ordinance (Powers) of 2022, as it is unconstitutional and contradicts the basic principles that form the cornerstone of the rule of law. The amendment, which was passed by the Knesset on 27 December 2022, subordinates the police under the purview of the National Security Minister, granting him the authority to determine the police's policies and general principles of operation, including policies regarding investigations and setting “principled priorities”.


Adalah had previously opposed the proposed amendment when Knesset member Itamar Ben Gvir, who now serves as the Minister of National Security, initially submitted it. The petition was filed in light of the policy measures taken by the Minister since then, which confirm Adalah's fundamental claims regarding the amendment.


    CLICK HERE to read Adalah’s petition

    CLICK HERE to read about Adalah’s previous objection

    Case citation: HCJ 2985/23 High Follow up Committee et al. v the Knesset et al.


The petition was ​​filed by Adalah attorneys, Adi Mansour and Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi.


In the petition, Adalah and the High Follow-Up Committee argued that a political entity with a clear partisan and ideological agenda now holds the responsibility for setting priorities in police matters, which were previously within the domain of professionals. Moreover, the decision-making of this entity is certain to be influenced by inherent biases driven by their role in electoral politics. The petitioners thus argued that the amendment inherently undermines the principle of the rule of law and makes its enforcement political, thus precluding the principle of equality.


The petitioners have emphasized that discriminatory policies against Palestinian citizens of Israel were already in place before the amendment was passed, as evident in the severe violence against Palestinian citizens by the police, which has even resulted in deaths, such as in the cases of Ya’akub Abu al-Qi’an, Eyad al-Hallaq, and, most recently, Muhammad al-Isawi. The petitioners argued that granting such authority to a minister, and further politicizing the police, exacerbates the police's already existing racist practices towards Palestinian citizens.


Adalah and the High Follow Up Committee further stressed that a series of policy measures implemented by Minister Ben Gvir since taking office indicate the grave consequences of the police's politicization and subordination. These include, among other things, the Minister's directives to enforce the prohibition on displaying Palestinian flags in public areas and to accelerate the demolition of homes in East Jerusalem as a retaliatory action “in response to attacks”. The petitioners further emphasized that these policies have been accompanied by the Minister's overt declarations to implement sweeping changes in the police's handling of Palestinian citizens of Israel, including the open-fire regulations. These declarations make no attempt to conceal his violent and racist views towards Palestinians.


The petitioners further argued that the transfer of authority over the police to the Minister cannot be viewed in isolation, separate from Minister Ben Gvir's broader plans to enforce racist measures against Palestinian citizens, as evidenced by the coalition agreements signed with his party, “Jewish Power”.


    CLICK HERE to read Adalah’s Analysis of the New Israeli Government’s Guiding Principles and Coalition Agreements and their Implications on Palestinians’ Rights


In addition, the petitioners have asserted that politicizing the police will result in further violations of constitutional rights under Israeli law, which are already compromised by the exercise of police authority. They thus argued that the amendment is unconstitutional, as it does not conform to the limitations clause outlined in the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.