Israeli far-right politician Ben Gvir to be police minister in govt

This agreement is expected to lead to the formation of the most powerful right-wing government in Israel's history.

Jerusalem: Israeli far-right politician Itamar Ben Gvir will become police minister under a coalition agreement on Friday with Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party.

This agreement is expected to lead to the formation of the most powerful right-wing government in Israel’s history.

This comes after the Likud party and its allies from the religious and far-right parties won a majority of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) seats in the elections that took place earlier this month, marking a remarkable return to power for Netanyahu.

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Ben Gvir took to Twitter, after signing the agreement, “We took a big step tonight towards forming a complete coalition, and towards forming a completely right-wing government.”

Israeli Broadcasting Corporation said on Friday, “Signing the position annex brings the comprehensive agreement closer, which will include budgets, technical issues, and guidelines.”

It continued, “According to the agreement, the Jewish force will take over the Ministry of National Security with broad powers, including the Green Police, the Land Enforcement Authority, and the Border Police in the West Bank.”

Ben Gvir’s record includes a 2007 conviction for racial incitement against Arabs and support for terrorism. 

Ben Gvir is a settler living in the West Bank, which Israel captured in the 1967 war, and opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state. It also supports Jewish prayers on the Temple Mount.

On November 1, 2022, Ben Gvir’s “religious Zionism” political alliance, led by far-right MP Bezalel Smotrich, won 14 seats; this made it the third-largest bloc in the 120-seat parliament.

Gvir had previously called for the deportation of Palestinian citizens of the Israeli-occupied territories, who make up roughly 20 per cent of the population, though he later retracted those comments.

Also, in August 2022, Ben Gvir stated that he wanted to expel politicians deemed “disloyal” to Israel, referring to members of parliament representing Palestinian citizens and left-leaning Israeli MPs.

Ben Gvir also pledged to relax the rules of engagement for the police and said that soldiers in the occupied West Bank should be allowed to “respond” if someone throws rocks and firebombs at them.

In October 2022, Ben Gvir drew his weapon against the residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem.

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