Middle East

Israel designate-Premier appoints far-right Ben-Gvir as new Security Minister – Middle East Monitor

Israeli designate Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party signed its first coalition deal with Itamar Ben-Gvir, appointing the Head of the far-right Otzma Yehudit Party as the “Minister of National Security”, Likud announced in a statement this morning.

“We took a big step tonight toward a full coalition agreement, toward forming a fully, fully right-wing government,” Mr Ben-Gvir said in a statement, after the deal was agreed.

The new National Security Ministry will be expanded as part of the deal, to include several enforcement authorities that were previously dispersed among different governmental offices, Haaretz reported.

Likud and its religious and far-right allies marked a clear victory in Israel’s 1 November general election, ending nearly four years of political instability and setting Netanyahu on course for a political comeback as Prime Minister.

This was the fifth election in Israel in less than four years. Netanyahu’s ideological soul mates on the far-right enabled him to control 64 seats in the 120-seat parliament, the Knesset. He, thus, has a majority and has been tasked by Herzog with forming the next government, which looks set to be the most extreme in Israel’s history.

Ben-Gvir is an extreme far-right ultranationalist and the Head of the far-right Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) Party, which is in Bezalel Smotrich’s equally far-right Religious Zionism coalition. He was convicted in 2007 of racist incitement and support for Kach, a group which both Israel and the US designated as a terrorist organisation.

Last week, Ben-Gvir agreed with Netanyahu on a series of items, most of which relate to settlement in the West Bank, the legalisation of 65 settlement outposts within 60 days of forming the government and the amendment of the disengagement law passed in 2005 to keep the Homesh settlement and establish a Jewish religious school.

READ: Netanyahu is turning Israel into an explosive banana republic

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