Report Finds Undercover Cops Infiltrating Anti-overhaul Protestors in Tel Aviv
On Tuesday, reports said that undercover police officers were collecting information on people attending the anti-overhaul protests in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
They were doing so by posing as protestors and joining those participating in the demonstrations. These protests against the government’s decision to overhaul the judiciary have been ongoing for about 10 weeks now.
According to the report, instead of just observing the protestors, the undercover cops were actually relaying information about them in real-time.
An unnamed police source revealed that police officers were spread out in the crowd for protecting the demonstrators from attack and also for gauging their mood.
Even though there have been several incidents of violence against the demonstrators all across Israel, no reports have come to light about undercover police officers thwarting them or bringing them to a conclusion.
The report further said that an undercover police officers had been noticed by the protestors in Jerusalem last week in their midst.
He had been carrying a national flag, which is being used as a symbol for the protest. Earlier in the day, the police officer had been at a protest as a cop.
But, he had attended the second protest in order to blend with the crowd of demonstrators.
It was further revealed in the report that protestors in Tel Aviv had also identified a police officer last week, who they said had ‘infiltrated’ the crowd.
The alleged police officers had been asked to identify themselves on both occasions, but had refused to do so when challenged.
According to police procedures, officers are permitted to maintain their cover in case there is a safety risk, or if breaking cover could hinder their chances of making arrests.
Israel Police was asked to comment on the matter and it issued a general statement that both undercover and overt police officers are used for policing traffic, maintaining public order and fighting crime.
However, the action does not sit well with many. The head of the Association of Civil Rights, Ann Suciu said that using undercover police officers in these rallies was not appropriate because they are non-violent.
She said that there had only been a handful of scuffles between the cops and the protestors, with each side claiming the other instigated them.
She stated that even in the case of extreme cases where using undercover police officers is justified, this method is appropriate for addressing serious crimes and not non-violent protests.
Israel Police and Itamar Ben Gvir, the National Security Minister, have recently been involved in a tussle over the handling of the mass protests that are being carried out against the government.
The minister has pushed for the police to deal with the protestors more aggressively, whom he calls ‘anarchists’.
It was reported that Ben Gvir and his aides had bypassed the chain of command during operations and reached out to police commanders working below Kobi Shabtai, the chief of police.
They called the commanders to ask them about the number of fines imposed and whether blocked roads had been opened or not.