A report by State comptroller Matanyahu Englman published on Wednesday, found both the police and the Shin Bet Security Agency had major failings during the rioting that broke out in May 2021.
After violent clashes broke out in Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and rocket fire from the Gaza Strip resulting in 11 days of fighting, riots broke out in mixed Jewish and Arab cities, which included violent attacks against residents, fatalities and injuries, and the burning of businesses and synagogues.
The report Wednesday exposed major failings in police response, before and during the events and in the readiness of the force, and its ability to control the riots, causing major harm to the most basic right of citizens, for personal security.
Englman’s report noted faults in the distribution of responsibilities between the police and the Shin Bet in areas of intelligence gathering and cooperation between the organizations.
It claimed that despite the importance of knowledge of Arabic among those dealing with intelligence gathering in the mixed cities, at least three people tasked with gathering intelligence did not speak the language.
In the early days of rioting, the police did not provide the needed response to a threat that the force itself identified. There was a shortage of troops on the ground, and thousands of calls to the emergency lines remained unanswered, resulting in people no longer reporting crimes and incidents.
It took several days until forces reached suitable numbers in Lod, for example, to return order to the city.
Englman wrote that the delay in deploying forces was caused due to the police’s wide deployment, including in Jerusalem, and the long time it took to call up reserves.
The police was faced also had a shortage of riot control equipment. The report found that in some police districts such gear was used up after a single day of rioting.
The Shin Bet, did not provide ample warning of possible violence and did not present a coherent picture of the power, scale and severity of the disturbances that occurred.
Englman however, did not refer to the responsibility of the government and politicians and opted to concentrate his report on the police and the security agency