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Israel Police

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Israel Police
משטרת ישראל
شرطة إسرائيل
Israel Police logo
Israel Police logo
Israel Police flag
Israel Police flag
Agency overview
Annual budget8.383 billion NIS (2010)[3]
Jurisdictional structure
National agencyIsrael
Operations jurisdictionIsrael
Governing bodyMinistry of National Security
General nature
Operational structure
Overseen byPolice Internal Investigations Department[4]
HeadquartersNational Headquarters of the Israel PoliceKiryat HaMemshala (East Jerusalem)
Agency executive
National Police Headquarters, Jerusalem

The Israel Police (Hebrew: משטרת ישראל, romanizedMišteret Yisra'el; Arabic: شرطة إسرائيل, romanizedShurtat Isrāʼīl) is the civilian police force of Israel. As with most other police forces in the world, its duties include crime fighting, traffic control, maintaining public safety, and counter-terrorism. It is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of National Security.[5] The National Headquarters of the Israel Police is located at Kiryat HaMemshala in Jerusalem.[6]

The Israel Police operates throughout Israel, Area C of the West Bank, and the Golan Heights,[7]—in all places in which Israel has civilian control.[8][9] It is the sole civilian law enforcement agency in Israel: there are no municipal or regional police forces, though some municipalities operate municipal enforcement units that deal with low-level offenses and provide additional security and as such have the power to issue fines, but do not have police authority.[10]

In an emergency, the police can be reached by dialing 100 from any telephone in Israel.[11]


Honor guard of the Israeli Police and Border Guard for Israel's Memorial Day

The Israel Police was established in 1948.[12] It is responsible for public security, maintaining public order, securing public events and rallies, dismantling suspicious objects and explosives (EOD), riot and crowd control, law enforcement, crime fighting, detective work, covert operations against drug networks, investigating suspects, road traffic control, operating the Civil Guard, handling civilian complaints, handling youth violence, educational campaigns.[13]

The Israel Police is a professional force, with some 35,000 persons on the payroll. There are also 70,000 Civil Guard volunteers who carry out part-time work in helping to police their own communities.[14]

The police are divided into the following main divisional groups:[15]

Israeli riot police, Yasam
Toyota Hilux police vehicle
National Traffic Police patrol car
Israel Police patrol cars
Israel Police bomb disposal operators

Regional districts

The Israel Police is divided into six regional district commands:

Operational units

  • The Security and Community Policing Branch is responsible for ordinary law enforcement tasks such as conducting patrols in public and responding to emergency calls.
  • The Israel Border Police ("MAGAV") is the combat arm of the police and mainly serves in specific areas – the borders, Jerusalem, and the West Bank. It is responsible for law enforcement in the rural countryside and for putting down civil unrest, particularly rioting. It participates in counter-terrorism operations. The Border Police has both professional officers on payroll and conscripts who serve in the Border Police as their mandatory three-year national service.[16] It also has volunteer personnel.
  • The Yamam (acronym for Special Police Unit) is the police's counter-terrorism and hostage rescue unit. It is known as one of the most experienced and specialized units of its kind in the world. The unit has taken part in hundreds of operations in and outside the borders of Israel.[17]
  • The Yasam is a riot police and crowd control unit, and also participates in counter-terror operations. The unit, originally started as Riot Police, was called upon to assist with counter-terror operations, as well as dismantling settlements in accordance with the Israeli court decisions.[18] The Yasam has sub-units of Rapid Response Motorcycle Units.[19]
  • The Yamas is a counter-terrorist commando unit. Its operators are trained in conducting operations undercover, disguised as civilians. Although officially part of the Border Police, it is directly subordinate to Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security service.
  • The National Traffic Police is the police's traffic enforcement arm. It is divided into five regional districts and a national patrol unit.
  • The Civil Guard is the police's force of part-time volunteer officers, who comprise the majority of Israeli police officers. It is officially a division of the Security and Community Policing Branch. Civil Guard volunteers have limited police powers. They carry out patrols in public, are trained to provide the initial response to any security situation they encounter until regular police forces arrive, and partake in traffic control. The Civil Guard also has search and rescue teams.
  • Lahav 433 is the police's unit for investigations of serious crimes and corruption.
  • The Police SIGINT Unit is responsible for signals intelligence (SIGINT) activities.
  • The Dog Handling Unit is responsible for operating police dogs.
  • The Police Aerial Unit operates police helicopters.
  • The Police Marine Unit is responsible for operating boats and has police divers.
  • The Israel Police Bomb Disposal Unit is the bomb squad of the police. It deals with operations and investigations which involve suspicious objects, explosive devices or military ordnance.
  • The Seif Unit is responsible for tackling crime in the Israeli-Arab population.[20]
  • The Yoav Unit is responsible for enforcement of land use and construction regulations in the Negev, particularly among Bedouin communities.[21]
  • The Division of Identification and Forensic Science is responsible for forensic science in investigations. It has laboratories dealing with latent fingerprint analysis, arson investigation, mass spectrometry and explosive analysis, digital evidence, DNA and other areas of biology, firearms, and questioned document examination.[22]
  • The Internal Investigations Department is responsible for investigating wrongdoing by police personnel. It is officially independent from the police and under the jurisdiction of the Justice Ministry.[23]

Weapons and equipment

Israeli police boat on the Sea of Galilee
An Israeli Police Bell 206 helicopter
Israel Border Police vehicle

Each patrol officer is armed with a pistol (handgun) which he or she usually also carries while off duty. Also, each patrol car must have at least one long-arm (i.e. rifle). Police volunteers are usually armed with an M1 Carbine, which they return to the armory after they finish their duty (they do not take the rifle home, but may sign one out for escorting field trips, etc.). Volunteers who have a gun license may use their own personal handgun as a personal defense weapon while on duty, under the condition that the gun and ammunition type is authorized by the police (9 mm). Common pistols owned and carried by volunteers include Glock and CZ-75 designs.[24]

Specialized armaments such as automatic rifles, bolt-action rifles and non-lethal weapons are assigned according to activity and not on personal basis. Border Guard personnel, however, carry an M16 or M4 rifle as a standard personal weapon and can carry it home while off duty (like regular infantry in the Israel Defense Forces).[25]


English language equivalent (Hebrew) Rank Insignia[26]
Constable שוטר Shoter
Corporal רב שוטר Rav Shoter
Sergeant סמל שני Samal Sheni
Staff Sergeant סמל ראשון Samal Rishon
Sergeant First Class רב סמל Rav Samal
Master Sergeant רב סמל ראשון Rav Samal Rishon
First Sergeant רב סמל מתקדם Rav Samal Mitkadem
Sergeant Major רב סמל בכיר Rav Samal Bakhir
Command Sergeant Major רב נגד Rav Nagad
Sub-Inspector מפקח משנה Mefake'ah Mishneh
Inspector מפקח Mefake'ah
Chief Inspector פקד Pakad
Superintendent רב פקד Rav Pakad
Chief Superintendent סגן ניצב Sgan Nitzav
Commander ניצב משנה Nitzav Mishneh
Assistant Commissioner תת ניצב Tat Nitzav
Deputy Commissioner ניצב Nitzav
Commissioner רב ניצב Rav Nitzav

Awards and recognition

  • On July 6, 2004, the Israel Police received an award from the Anti-Defamation League for its counter-terror efforts and for passing seminars of counter-terror measures to the FBI and local police in the US.[27][28]
  • In October 2010, YAMAM, the counter-terrorism unit of the Israeli Police, won the "Urban Shield" SWAT competition held by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, setting a new record in the competition.[29]
  • In October 2011, YAMAM won the "Urban Shield" SWAT competition held by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office a second time.[30]

General Commissioners

Flag of the Chief of Israel Police
Police Commissioners
General Commissioner Start year End year
Yehezkel Sahar 1948 1958
Yosef Nachmias 1958 1964
Pinhas Kopel 1964 1972
Aaron Sela 1972
Shaul Rosolio 1972 1976
Haim Tavori 1976 1979
Herzl Shapir 1980
Arieh Ivtsan 1981 1985
David Kraus 1985 1990
Yaakov Turner 1990 1993
Rafi Peled 1993 1994
Asaf Hefetz 1994 1997
Yehuda Vilk 1998 2000
Shlomo Aharonishki 2001 2004
Moshe Karadi 2004 2007
Dudi Cohen 2007 2011
Yohanan Danino 2011 2015
Bentsi Sao (interim) 2015 2015
Roni Alsheikh 2015 2018
Motti Cohen 2018 2020
Kobi Shabtai 2020

Women police

In 2015, the editorial of Haaretz claimed "Women constitute at least 30 percent of the police force" and criticized there were no women who have reached the rank of major general.[31]


A 2014 analysis by Yesh Din questioned the professionalism of the police force of the Judea & Samaria District (also known as the West Bank) as only 7.4% of reported attacks by Israeli citizens on Palestinian persons and property had led to indictments.[32] In 2015, several senior officers resigned due to criminal investigations or accusations of sexual harassment of employees. Five police at the rank of major general resigned in the preceding 18 months amid scandal.[33] The February 2015 announcement that another senior Israel Police officer was under investigation for sexual harassment was criticized by women's and rape victim advocacy groups, who held protests at police headquarters in a number of cities.[34]

An ongoing Israeli programme of inviting U.S. police groups to study Israeli policework in sponsored visits has been the object of controversy for several years.[35]

See also


  1. ^ "Israel Police". Israel Police. Archived from the original on June 16, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  2. ^ "The Israel Police and the Community". Israel Police. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  3. ^ "Police Budget" (in Hebrew). Israel Police. Archived from the original on March 6, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  4. ^ "המחלקה לחקירות שוטרים (מח"ש) – Police Investigations Department" (in Hebrew). Ministry of Justice (Israel). Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  5. ^ "About Us: Organizational Structure". Ministry of Public Security. Archived from the original on May 24, 2012.
  6. ^ "Jerusalem Issue Briefs". Archived from the original on June 9, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  7. ^ Jack Khoury (July 11, 2010). "Druze protesters clash with police searching restaurant in Golan village". Haaretz. Archived from the original on July 14, 2010.
  8. ^ "Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement". mfa.gov.il. Archived from the original on May 10, 2010.
  9. ^ "Suspicious Arguments Against saying Hallel on Yom Ha'atzmaut". Bloging:: Ha Gufa Kashya. Archived from the original on March 26, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  10. ^ Municipal Policing
  11. ^ "Israel's police, fire and EMS will now come in a package thanks to AI". September 29, 2022. Archived from the original on September 30, 2022.
  12. ^ Andrade, John (January 9, 2016). World Police & Paramilitary Forces. Springer. ISBN 9781349077823. Archived from the original on May 11, 2018 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ Official definition of Mission and Functions Archived June 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine at the official Israeli police website
  14. ^ "The Israeli Civil Guard volunteer police force". police.gov.il. Archived from the original on June 16, 2011.
  15. ^ all following information according to the official Israel police website cited above
  16. ^ "Mishmar Hagvul" (Hebrew) Archived August 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine at Israel Police website
  17. ^ Lappin, Yaakov (August 25, 2010). "Police delegation to head for Haiti at UN request". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on September 2, 2010.
  18. ^ Alon, Gideon (March 1, 2006). "Preventative Medicine". Haaretz. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012.
  19. ^ Kosharek, Noah (December 24, 2009). "Inspectors, Police, Civilians All Chase 'Jewish Pony' in Holon". Haaretz. Archived from the original on December 2, 2010.
  20. ^ Boxerman, Aaron. "With new policing division, Bennett unveils plan to tackle crime among Arabs". www.timesofisrael.com.
  21. ^ https://www.police.gov.il/join/yoav יחידת יואב
  22. ^ Department: Testing Laboratory ISO/IEC 17025 Accreditation No. 087
  23. ^ Cohen, Gilad; Tzimuki, Tova (August 18, 2020). "Justice minister: Israel Police will no longer investigate itself". Ynetnews – via www.ynetnews.com.
  24. ^ Weapons and equipment at official Israel police website. All following lists of weaponry are from this source as well.
  25. ^ According to Hebrew Wikipedia entries on M16 and the Galil rifles, which preceded the M16 and was used for 20 years as the main task gun.
  26. ^ "מסלולי קידום במשטרת ישראל" [Israel Police Promotion Routes]. gov.il (in Hebrew). Government of Israel. June 12, 2018. Retrieved May 12, 2021.
  27. ^ "Israel General Shares Expertise in Thwarting Terrorism". Archived from the original on June 6, 2004. Retrieved July 6, 2004.
  28. ^ "Satellite News and latest stories | The Jerusalem Post". fr.jpost.com.
  29. ^ "Everyone wins at Urban Shield 2010". policeone.com. Archived from the original on November 3, 2011.
  30. ^ Israeli Police press release Archived April 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, 2.11.2011 (Hebrew)
  31. ^ On gender equality, Israel police get criminally low marks Archived February 6, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Haaretz, 6 Feb 2015
  32. ^ "Semblance of Law". Yesh Din. September 12, 2006. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  33. ^ Police in crisis as sixth top cop quits in disgrace Archived January 27, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Haaretz, 27 Jan 2015
  34. ^ ‘Latest police sexual assault scandal just tip of the iceberg’ Archived February 6, 2015, at the Wayback Machine The Jerusalem Post, 6 Feb 2015
  35. ^ Alex Kane and Sam Levin, 'SCOOP: Internal ADL Memo Recommended Ending Police Delegations to Israel Amid Backlash,' Jewish Currents 17 March 2022

External links