The Jewish state will establish its own Israel National Guard to join the Border Police in response to increasing violence and a recent wave of deadly terror attacks across cities in Israel.
The launch of the Israel National Guard is also intended to address security lessons learned from Operation Guardians of the Walls during the Hamas-Israel conflict last year.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Public Security Minister Omer Barlev and the country’s police commissioner announced on Tuesday that the new National Guard will be a trained, skilled force that will be able to operate in several areas simultaneously and deal with disturbances and emergency scenarios, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
The outgoing prime minister is prioritizing the initiative in order to strengthen the public security of the State of Israel, as well as the personal security of the citizens of Israel.
“Today we are starting out with a budgeted and approved decision to establish the Israel National Guard,” Bennett said. “The goal is to triple the overall strength of the Border Police units.”
The National Guard will be comprised of three different types of forces: conscripted and professional border police personnel, a reserve force consisting of 46 combat companies with advanced equipment – 28 of which currently exist and 18 to be added in coming years – and a volunteer force of IDF reservists.
The IDF reserve force is currently comprised of 8,000 volunteers who concentrate their efforts in the Israeli periphery. In the coming two years, an additional 1,500 volunteers are expected to join it.
A different civilian volunteer force, dubbed the Hod company, is expected to have another 2,000 members who are trained to deal with disturbances and emergency scenarios. They will keep equipment at home and be available for immediate action.
Barlev referred to the establishment of the National Guard as a “revolution in the Border Police.” He is convinced that the changes, including strengthening and tripling reserve units, will bring more public security to the State of Israel.
Meanwhile, the Israel Police civil guard of volunteers will also be increased by approximately 3,500 individuals “in order to expand readiness on the streets and strengthen the sense of security on a daily basis,” according to Bennett’s office.
Bennett said in early May that he wanted to create a civilian national guard to help protect communities around the country. The statement came in response to an ongoing terror wave that has claimed at least 18 Israeli lives.
On Tuesday, Bennett said the upcoming launch of the National Guard was a personal “closing of a circle.”
“I came into office as Israel was licking its wounds from Operation Guardians of the Walls,” Bennett said. “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.”
“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. This is my concluding action as prime minister: To launch the Israel National Guard and strengthen the public security of the State of Israel,” he added.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.