THE ISRAEL POLICE
Law enforcement was entrusted to a single national police force,
called simply the Israel Police, which had a personnel strength
of 20,874 men and women in 1986. The Israel Police had responsibility
for preventing and detecting crime; apprehending suspects, charging
them, and bringing them to trial; keeping law and order; and traffic
control. Since 1974 the police had also controlled internal security,
especially the prevention of border infiltration and terrorism.
With the abolition of the Ministry of Police in 1977, the Israel
Police came under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior.
The minister of interior appointed the police commanding officer,
the inspector general. Since 1967 Israeli police have functioned
in the occupied territories under the authority of the military
governors. In March 1988, after the murder of one Arab policeman,
at least half of the 1,000 Palestinian police in the occupied
territories heeded leaflets and radio broadcasts calling upon
them to resign.
The country was divided into four police districts and a number
of subdistricts. The heavily populated metropolitan area of Tel
Aviv constituted one district that was divided into three subdistricts.
The Southern District, with six subdistricts, comprised central
and southern Israel down to the Negev Desert. The Northern District,
with five subdistricts, included Haifa, Galilee, and the coastal
area north of Tel Aviv. A fourth district was formed in the Negev
following the return to Egypt of the Sinai Peninsula as part of
the Camp David Accords in 1979. The occupied territories were
divided between the northern and southern districts.
The subdistricts exercised authority over individual police stations.
Most operations, including the investigation of crimes, were carried
out at the police station level, subject to guidance from the
appropriate functional bureau of the national headquarters in
Jerusalem. The principal bureaus of national headquarters were
Operations (patrolling, traffic, and internal security); Investigation
(criminal investigation, intelligence, criminal identification,
fraud); and Administration (personnel, training, communications,
finance). These bureaus had counterparts at the district level.
Data as of December 1988