Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has given preliminary approval for the establishment of a national guard.
TEL AVIV, Israel — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on Sunday gave preliminary approval for the creation of a national guard overseen by an ultranationalist Cabinet minister with a long record of anti-Arab rhetoric and stunts.
Netanyahu agreed to move ahead on the force last week after he postponed a contentious government plan to overhaul the judiciary as a way to keep National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir from quitting the coalition.
Critics say the new force is effectively a personal militia for Ben-Gvir, a former far-right activist who has been convicted several times for incitement and support for a Jewish terror group. Ben-Gvir says the force is meant to fill in gaps in areas where police are spread thin, including in crime-ridden Arab communities, as well as dealing with Arab-Jewish violence and other issues.
The force is expected to enlist hundreds at first …