Israel’s Police Officers Are Resigning — and the Crisis Must Be Addressed
Over the past few weeks, headlines have warned that the Israel Police is in the midst of an escalating wave of officer resignations. Most are young people who initially knew what profession they were entering into, and what the wage conditions were. Without diminishing the importance of their dangerous, life-threatening mission, the media has been reducing and distorting the main cause of the crisis at hand.
The profession that one chooses reflects one’s values and aspirations. The Israel Police is a social force that stands for the protection of Israeli society. Its police officers intersect with the most basic need for personal security in the Jewish state. Where can there be a greater sense of meaning and purpose than serving in the Israeli Police?
This is where the depth of the crisis is exposed. Motivated young people who join the police are finding an organization that has lost its confidence, its ability to influence others, and its public support.
Israeli leaders have weakened the authority and influence of the police force when it faces challenges. No laws have been enacted that back up the police when they are subject to attacks and reproach. Judges ridicule its officers in the eyes of criminals when they come out of prison cells without a sense of deterrence — or even worse, without any punishment at all.
If the average citizen cannot sleep peacefully, that’s even more true of the police officers; meanwhile, the public loses faith in Israel’s security services and faces increasing public danger.
Considering the serious security risks facing us, the Israeli government must mobilize all efforts to strengthen homeland security services. It must also examine the possibility that programs such as the Nachal, IDF preparatory programs, and dedicated officers’ programs — which in the past established joint projects with the Golani and Givati IDF brigades — could direct their efforts to recruiting quality personnel for the Israel Police and the Border Police.
The state must prioritize its internal security sector, creating a society in which its work is cherished and valued, and employ all means for the personal security of Israeli citizens. The right police force will carry the spirit of personal dedication, and the spirit of national support.
Yoel Zilberman, Founder and CEO of HaShomer HaChadash.