Who Controls the Israeli Policing Army?

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Since the 2000s, a fundamental structural change has led to the development of two armies within the IDF. In co-existence with the ‘official’ army, a ‘policing’ force has emerged in the West Bank. Ostensibly subordinated to political authority, it has evolved into a quasi-militia force, enacting policies that often deviate from the official line. The question of who controls this policing army is central to this article. I argue that this policing army, unlike the official army, is controlled by a matrix rather than a hierarchical structure. Characterized by a web of mostly extra-military mechanisms, it is embedded within the civilian communities of the Jewish settlers, and this embeddedness shapes the form of control by creating several control mechanisms. Therefore, this policing army is only partially controlled by the official echelon of command.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-76
Number of pages19
JournalIsrael Studies Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Association for Israel Studies


  • civilian control
  • control from within
  • extra-institutional control
  • human rights organizations
  • policing army

RAMBI publications

  • Arab-Israeli conflict
  • Israel -- Armed Forces -- Military police
  • Israel -- Tseva haganah le-Yiśraʼel
  • Israelis -- West Bank
  • Land settlement -- Israel
  • Palestinian Arabs -- West Bank


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