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Israel Border Police
מִשְׁמַר הַגְּבוּל
Mišmar Ha-Gvul
Emblem of Magav
Emblem of Magav
Flag of Israel Border Police
Flag of Israel Border Police
Common nameMagav
Agency overview
Formed1953
Preceding agency
  • Frontier Corps[a]
Employees≈8,000 soldiers and officers
Jurisdictional structure
National agencyIsrael
Operations jurisdictionIsrael
Governing bodyIsrael Police
General nature
Specialist jurisdiction
  • National border patrol, security, and integrity.
Website
www.police.gov.il

The Israel Border Police (Hebrew: מִשְׁמַר הַגְּבוּל, romanizedMišmar Ha-Gvul) is the gendarmerie and border security branch of the Israel National Police. It is also commonly known by its Hebrew abbreviation Magav (מג"ב‎), meaning border guard; its members are colloquially known as magavnikim (מג"בניקים‎; singular magavnik). "Border Guard" is often used as the official name of the Israel Border Police in English. While its main task is securing Israel's borders, it has also been deployed to assist the Israel Defense Forces, and for counter-terrorism and law enforcement operations in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in Jerusalem.

The Israeli Border Police is known to include many soldiers from minority backgrounds, being a particularly popular choice for Druze recruits, and also including many soldiers from Circassian, Arab Christian, and Bedouin backgrounds.[1]

History

Magavniks in Jerusalem

The Border Police was founded in 1949 as the Frontier Corps (חיל הספר‎, Heil HaSfar), a gendarmerie under the IDF with the task of providing security in rural areas and along the borders. Over the following years, it was gradually transferred to the command of the Police and became the Border Police. During these years, it secured new settlements and countered infiltration of Palestinian fedayeen, especially from Egypt and Jordan.

During the 1956 Suez War, the Border Police was involved in the Kafr Qasim massacre. On the second day of the war, a curfew was imposed on the Israeli Arab village. Villagers who had worked in the village fields and were apparently unaware of the curfew were shot as they returned to the village,[2] resulting in 49 dead. This event was strongly protested by the Israeli public and resulted in a landmark Supreme Court ruling on the obligation of soldiers to disobey manifestly illegal orders.

During the 1967 Six-Day War, the Border Police fought alongside the IDF. After the war, it was deployed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and charged with maintaining law and order as part of the military administration of Israeli-occupied territories. Since then, a significant portion of the Border Police's activity has been in these territories, especially during the years of the First Intifada and the Second (al-Aqsa) Intifada.

In 1974, the counter-terror unit Yamam was established.

Magavnikim with an Israel Border Police Sufa jeep in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City.

In the 2000 October Riots, the Border Police were used as the main branch of the treatment in the events. During the Second Intifada, the Border Police took a large part in the security activity.

In 2005, the Border Police participated in the implementation of the Israeli disengagement from Gaza.

The Border Police's heaviest area of operation is Jerusalem. Virtually all "soldiers" seen patrolling Jerusalem's streets are Border Guard Police officers. Approximately 20% of all Border Guard personnel in the country are in Jerusalem. Jerusalem MAGAV also provides security and conducts military operations, raids, and arrests on Palestinians in cities like Jenin, Nablus, Jericho, Qalqilya, Tulkarm, Ramallah, and Hebron.

The number of Border Guards is believed to be about 6,000 soldiers and officers.

Structure

Magavnik in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City.

The Border Police is composed of professional officers on payroll and field policemen redirected from the IDF (at age 18, Israelis can choose to serve in the Border Police instead of the IDF). All border policemen are trained in combat, counter-terrorism, riot control, and police work. Outstanding officers can train as specialists, such as snipers, buggy-drivers, dog operators, or bomb squad members.

Because of their combat training, border police are employed in areas with greater risk of riots, violence and terror. They serve mainly in the countryside, in Arab villages and towns (along with the regular police), near the borders and in the West Bank.

Settlements security

The Border Police is also responsible for security of rural settlements inside Israel with its Rural Police (Hebrew: שיטור כפרי, shitur kafri) units and Community Security Coordinators (Hebrew: רב"ש, rabash). Rural policemen are full-time professional officers and security coordinators are a mixture of full-time and volunteer officers.

Special Operations Units

The Border Police has four Special forces units:

Yamam

Main article: Yamam

YAMAM operators

The Yamam (Hebrew: ימ"מ, an acronym for Centralized Special Unit יחידה מרכזית מיוחדת‎, Yeḥida Merkazit Meyuḥedet), also called in Hebrew היחידה המיוחדת ללוחמה בטרור‎ and Israel's National Counter Terror Unit (I.N.C.T.U.) in English, is Israel's national counter-terrorism unit. The Yamam is capable of both hostage-rescue operations and offensive takeover raids against terrorist targets in civilian areas. Besides military and counter-terrorism duties, it also performs SWAT duties and undercover police work. The unit operates snipers, police dog (K9) handlers, rappelling teams, EOD experts, paramedics, and undercover operators.

YAMAM was formed in 1974 as a response to a wave of Palestinian terrorism. The unit has since carried out thousands of operations, killed hundreds of terrorists, and foiled countless terror attacks. It was awarded five citations of recommendation (Hebrew: צל"ש) from the Police Commissioner and one from the IDF Chief of general staff (Hebrew: צל"ש הרמטכ"ל).

Yamas

Main article: Yamas (Israel Border Police unit)

YAMAS in training

The Yamas is the undercover counter-terror unit.

The Yamas is often expected to carry out complex missions with little or no preparation, often involving daylight raids in volatile areas. It does not follow regular military or police command structure and answers directly to the Shabak. The IDF long denied its existence.

Others

Volunteer Border Guard

The Border Guard also deploys many volunteers. These members serve in regular Border Guard units. The Border Guard relies on volunteer soldiers to reinforce its manpower and help maintain Israel's security needs. The volunteer Border Guard are given special attention in sensitive places like Jerusalem where security threats are highest and sometimes double or even triple the manpower of full-time security forces in a given area.

Many of these special Border Guard volunteers are Jewish immigrants who immigrated to Israel from places like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Italy, France, Germany, South Africa, South America, and the former Soviet Union.[3]

Volunteer Border Guard members leave behind jobs and families on a regular basis to serve in this combat unit. Some come from cities like Beit Shemesh, Ofrah, Ashkelon, Ra'anana and Haifa. They are not paid for serving in the Border Guard and serve in their spare time.

Treatment of Palestinians

In 2001, the Israeli NGO B'tselem reported that violence against Palestinians in the occupied territories was widespread among Border Police units. Several cases of abuse, including the breaking of the hand of a three-year-old child, were documented over a short period of months. It added that prosecution of officers who perpetrate such acts was difficult, since Border Police, in contravention of the law, do not carry tags allowing them to be identified, and registering complaints against them was hindered by numerous bureaucratic obstacles, such as making travel permits to Israeli courts difficult to obtain.[4][5]

Commanders

Below is a list of current and former Border Police commanders.

Ranks

Border Police ranks are the same as those of the Israel Police and are similarly sworn in: the ranks of police officers and junior officers on the shirt collar, ranks of officers and senior officers on the cover. But in field uniforms, Border Police officers wear rank insignia on a green background worn on epaulets on top of both shoulders or on green epaulets. Border Police branch insignia is worn on the cap or beret. Enlisted grades wear rank insignia on the sleeve, halfway between the shoulder and the elbow. The Border Police British Army style insignia are white with blue interwoven threads backed with the appropriate corps color.

Officers
Rank group General / flag officers Senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
Israel Border Police
ניצב
Nitzav
תת ניצב
Tat nitzav
ניצב משנה
Nitzav mishneh
סגן ניצב
Sgan nitzav
רב פקד
Rav pakad
פקד
Pakad
מפקח
Mefake'ah
מפקח משנה
Mefake'ah mishneh
צוער
Tzoar
English Deputy commissioner Assistant commissioner Commander Chief superintendent Superintendent Chief inspector Inspector Sub-inspector Officer cadet
Others
Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
Israel Border Police
רב נגד
Rav nagad
רב סמל בכיר
Rav samal bakhir
רב סמל מתקדם
Rav samal mitkadem
רב סמל ראשון
Rav samal rishon
רב סמל
Rav samal
סמל ראשון
Samal rishon
סמל שני
Samal sheni
רב שוטר
Rav shoter
שוטר
Shoter
English Station sergeant major Sergeant major First sergeant Master sergeant Sergeant first class Staff sergeant Sergeant Corporal Constable

Uniforms

The Border has several types of uniforms:

The first two resemble each other but the Madei Alef is made of higher quality materials in grey while the madei bet is in grey drab.

The service uniform for all Border Police personnel is grey. The uniforms consist of a two-pocket shirt, plain or combat trousers, sweater, jacket or blouse, and shoes or boots. The grey fatigues are the same for winter and summer and heavy winter gear is issued as needed. Women's dress parallels the men's but may substitute a skirt for the trousers.[8]

Headgear included a service cap for dress and semi-dress and a field cap or bush hat worn with fatigues. Border Police personnel generally wear green berets in lieu of the service cap.

Some units have small variations in their uniforms such as certain Security and Tactical units in Jerusalem who wear the standard IDF olive fatigues.[8]

Weapons and equipment

An Israeli Border Guard with a Federal M201-Z riot gas gun

The primary Border Police weapons are the CAR-15 and M-16 rifles, some of which are attached to the M-203 grenade launcher. The Border Police also use standard IDF equipment such as vests and helmets. Special units of Border Police use Glock 17, Glock 19, Jericho, or FN HP pistols. Some units, such as the Jerusalem Patrol Unit, carry the Beretta M9-22LR .22LR pistol. Special units use a variety of other weapons, Ruger S22s,[9] sniper rifles, submachine guns, and shotguns.

The Border Police extensively use riot dispersal means such as batons and shields, tear gas canisters, stun grenades, rubber bullets, and water cannons.

Transportation

The Border Police use Sufa, Carkal, Dawid wheeled armored personnel carriers and a variety of patrol cars and vehicles. Several units use motorcycles and ATVs.

Memorial

The Border Police Memorial and Heritage Center[10] is in the western Carmel mountains near Zomet Iron at road 65.[11]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Not to be confused with the Frontier Corps of Pakistan

References

  1. ^ Arab-Israeli Military Forces in an Era of Asymmetric Wars, Anthony H. Cordesman, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1 January 2006, page 133
  2. ^ Jewish Literacy, Joseph Telushkin, p. 595, Harper-Collins, 1991, ISBN 0-688-08506-7
  3. ^ About the Volunteers Archived 2011-07-13 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on December 3, 2007.
  4. ^ Yael Stein, STANDARD ROUTINE: Beatings and Abuse of Palestinians by Israeli Security Forces during the Al-Aqsa Intifada, B'tselem 2001 pp21ff p.22.
  5. ^ Norman G. Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, University of California Press 2008 pp.166-167
  6. ^ From Hebrew page
  7. ^ Israeli Defense Forces since 1973 (pps L and 62/63) and by Sam Katz, Osprey Elite Series #8, Copyright 1986 ISBN 0-85045-687-8
  8. ^ a b Israeli Defense Forces since 1973 (p62) and by Sam Katz, Osprey Elite Series #8, Copyright 1986 ISBN 0-85045-687-8
  9. ^ "Israel Adopts Ruger SR-22 in "Less Lethal" Sniper Role -". 21 October 2015.
  10. ^ Hebrew website
  11. ^ Map

Bibliography