Tel Aviv police chief resigns over ordered ‘crackdown’ against ongoing Israel judicial reform protests News
Nizzan Cohen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Tel Aviv police chief resigns over ordered ‘crackdown’ against ongoing Israel judicial reform protests

Tel Aviv District Commander Ami Eshed announced his resignation from policing in a press conference Wednesday. Eshed stated that due to requests from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet to “crackdown” on protesters, he saw no option but to resign. This comes as demonstrations against Israel’s proposed judicial reform enter their fourth day, with almost half a million people taking to the streets to protest.

While Eshed did not mention any specific ministers in his resignation, in the past he clashed with Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir. In August of last year, Ben-Gvir attempted to remove Eshed from his position due to Eshed’s refusal to heighten police enforcement surrounding protests.

Eshed claimed that the government had broken almost every rule in the decision-making of the police and that for him to continue in his role would be impossible, due to the pressure being placed upon him. He stated that while it would be easy to escalate the police actions, it would go against what he considers to be the paramount directive of the police, “maintaining law and order.” Eshed finished his statement by saying that he was paying “a heavy price to prevent civil war.” 

In response to Eshed’s resignation, hundreds of protesters marched against the government and police, blocking major highways in Tel Aviv. These protests joined with ongoing protests across the country, which decry Netanyahu’s efforts to pass judicial reforms.

The initial judicial reforms introduced by Netanyahu’s government proposed increasing the government’s control over the Judicial Selection Committee; allowing the committee to vote for the president of the Supreme Court, instead of the current seniority-based system; and introducing an override clause to allow the Knesset to re-enact a law that the Supreme Court invalidated. After nationwide and international backlash, however, that proposal was delayed. Just this past week, however, members of Netanyahu’s government passed a revised version of the judicial reform bill out of committee. The new bill is an attempt to limit the “reasonableness” standard court’s use to review government actions.