Itamar Ben Gvir: The extremist Israeli politician signs an agreement with Netanyahu’s party giving him the post of defense minister
Israel’s far-right Jewish power party has signed a coalition agreement with Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.
As part of the agreement, party leader Itamar Ben Gvir will assume responsibility for the Ministry of Internal Security.
Ben Gvir, an ultra-nationalist politician, is known for his anti-Arab statements. He had previously been convicted of racism.
This comes after the Likud party and its allies from the religious and far-right parties won a majority of seats in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) in elections held earlier this month, marking a remarkable return to power for Netanyahu meant.
Ben Gvir said in a statement after signing the deal: “We took a big step tonight towards forming a full coalition and forming a full right-wing government.”
Negotiations with other potential coalition partners will continue.
Ben Gvir is a controversial figure in Israel. He was a supporter of the late ultranationalist and openly racist Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose organization was banned in Israel and classified as a terrorist organization by the United States.
He had previously called for the deportation of citizens deemed “disloyal” to the state.
And while he’s tried to portray himself as a more traditional politician than most, he still takes a very hard line on security issues.
Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have increased this year, with knife and gun attacks on Israelis and incursions by the Israeli army that have killed gunmen and Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank.
Last Wednesday, an Israeli teenager was killed and 14 others injured in suspected IED attacks at two Jerusalem bus stops. Ben Gvir visited the site of the first explosion.
During the visit, he said: “Even if it’s the West Bank, impose a blockade on it, conduct a door-to-door search for weapons and restore our deterrence.”
The Israeli elections ended an unprecedented period of political stalemate in Israel that began in 2019 when then-Prime Minister Netanyahu was accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, allegations he denies.
In the end, he was ousted from power in 2021 after leading the government for 12 consecutive years, as he promised at the time, saying “we will return.”
And it appears he has kept his promise, winning a clear majority among his political allies just over a year after his pledge.
But while coalition negotiations are ongoing, the final composition of his government has yet to be determined.
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