As Benjamin Netanyahu, the head of Israel’s largest right-wing party Likud, is set to form the most right-wing government the country has ever had, expectations are mounting that he will give influential ministerial portfolios to far-right ministers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich.
Prior to his victory and during his election campaign, Ben-Gvir told his supporters he was monitoring the Ministry of Public Security, which oversees internal security, including prison security, where Palestinian resistance fighters are serving long sentences in inhumane conditions.
According to Israeli media, he now wants to become education minister and give his ally, the extremist Smotrich, the defense ministry. If this happens, Amos Harel will Haaretz said it “will have a significant impact on the ground.” Harel, a leading Israeli reporter and analyst on military and security issues, stated that Smotrich “will be an integral part of the next Netanyahu government.”
As these two extremist far-right Israeli Jewish politicians become senior officials with extremist and racist targets at the top of their agenda, who will be able to tackle them, deter their racist ambitions or curb their madness.
In an article published in Israel Hayom, Ben-Gvir tried to lower his extremist tone. He compared his past and present views and explained how he changed, but in the same article he wrote: “I don’t intend to apologize for who I am, but I think that if you get to know me, you will change your mind. about me and my positions. For too long too many Israelis have feared enemies from within and without. Not anymore!”
‘Abominable’ Israeli Knesset member Ben-Gvir criticized for celebrating founder of global terrorist group
During his election campaign, Ben-Gvir said he would try to relax the rules of the Israeli occupation army so that Israeli soldiers can “shoot Palestinian suspects more easily”. the times of Israel reported, adding that Smotrich has campaigned for the same.
Leaving office, Prime Minister Yair Lapid – who lost the post in the election – was allowed to lament the defeat of the left-wing parties in Israel, saying: “After an election loss, there is always fallout, there is always anger. It’s human and understandable, but we have a much more important mission. We must join forces in the fight for our beloved country. In the Knesset, on the street, in every possible arena.”
Lapid knows very well how such far-right religious politicians harm the country’s governance and public relations in the international arenas. So he has already started mobilizing power, looking for allies to form a strong united opposition aimed at restoring power to the left.
At an event commemorating late-extremist US-born Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose extremist followers attacked and sometimes killed Israelis and Arabs alike, Ben-Gvir praised and defended the controversial figure whose organization has been labeled terrorists by the US. he expressed his views while insisting that “Ultimately, Rabbi Kahane was about love. Love for Israel without compromise, without any other consideration.”
At the same event, another far-right Israeli-Jewish activist, Baruch Marzel, who was a former political partner of Ben-Gvir, said: “Nothing will stop unless we drain the swamp,” echoing an earlier call to kill the more than 300,000 Palestinian citizen of Israel who voted for the Balad and Ra’am parties in last week’s elections.
Speaking with Israeli President Issac Herzog, Ben-Gvir said he was confident that “when I speak to the world, they will realize and recognize that I am not generalizing against all Arabs.” He was also reported by Israeli media that he had “gone to meet diplomats and will work to explain Otzma Yehudit’s views around the world”, in reference to his political party.
If handed over to the Ministry of Public Security, Ben-Gvir will be in control of law enforcement at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where extremist Israeli settlers and officials, including him, have sought to change the status quo at the expense of muslim rights.
Ben-Gvir, along with his supporters, has often desecrated the Al-Aqsa Mosque and performed Jewish rituals, which are prohibited by Israeli law. He has a long history of inciting violence and seeking the deportation of Palestinians from their homes in Palestinian neighborhoods near the Muslim holy site.
Who will deter him and stop his madness when he becomes a high-ranking government official with immense power? Who will stop him from ordering the Israeli police to shoot to kill Palestinians?
The views expressed in this article are the property of the author and do not necessarily reflect Middle East Monitor’s editorial policy.