According to the first of what are anticipated to be multiple coalition agreements reached by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, extreme lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, who has a long history of anti-Arab rhetoric and actions, will become Israel’s new minister of national security.
Likud revealed the deal with Ben-Jewish Gvir’s Power party on Friday.
Talks are still ongoing with three other potential far-right and ultra-Orthodox coalition allies.
Netanyahu would lead the most right-wing and religious government in Israeli history if he were to gain re-election to the position of prime minister.
Concerns about a further escalation in Israeli-Palestinian hostilities are raised by the decision to give Ben-Gvir the sensitive job.
Ben-Gvir and his allies want to provide Israeli soldiers who shoot at Palestinians immunity, expel rival MPs, and execute Palestinians who are found guilty of attacking Jews.
Ben-Gvir is a follower of Meir Kahane, a racist rabbi who was expelled from the Israeli parliament and whose Kach party was designated a terrorist organization by the US before he was killed in New York City in 1990.
Ben-Gvir made headlines for his anti-Palestinian remarks and antics before Israel’s election on November 1st, including waving a gun and urging police to fire on Palestinian stone-throwers in a sensitive Jerusalem area.
He was convicted of crimes such as inciting bigotry and assisting a terrorist group before becoming a lawyer and entering politics.
He would be in command of the police in his new position, among other things, allowing him to put into practice some of the extreme measures he has long favored against Palestinians.
According to the coalition agreement, the current ministry of internal security would become the ministry of national security and get more authority, Likud announced on Friday.
Ben-Gvir would be in charge of the ministry’s police and paramilitary border police, which work in conjunction with Israeli forces in Palestinian urban areas.
Likud legislator Yaron Levin hailed the deal reached on Thursday as “the first agreement on the route to building a stable right-wing administration led by Benjamin Netanyahu.”
After his Jewish Power party joined with the Religious Zionism party in 2021, BenGvir became the first Israeli member of parliament.
Bezalel Smotrich, the head of Religious Zionism and the closest political friend of Ben-Gvir, is in separate talks with Likud, the winning party in the elections.
Some of the demands, including Smotrich’s request for the defense ministry, have been rejected by Netanyahu.
The subject of discussion is Smotrich’s potential appointment as finance minister.