JERUSALEM, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Itamar Ben-Gvir, a potential senior partner in Israel’s next government, criticized the US on Thursday for attending a memorial service for Meir Kahane, despite being reprimanded. in that event because of refusal. The recent military leader of the mass expulsion of the Arabs.
A former member of Kach’s banned Kahane sect, Ben-Gvir tweeted before the Jerusalem event that his participation was in recognition of the slain US-born Israeli rabbi. “love of Israel” and “war for Soviet Jewry and anti-Semitism.”
Israeli TV broadcast his words for Kahane, who was shot by an Egyptian-American militant in Manhattan 32 years ago this week.
“It is no secret that today I am not Rabbi Kahane, and I do not support the expulsion of all Arabs, and I will not issue laws for separate beaches for Arabs and Jews,” he said, attracting members of the audience, many of them. they were wearing Kach T-shirts.
But there were cheers when he repeated his election pledge to expel “terrorists” – a term he used for Palestinian stone-throwers, as well as for representatives of the 21 percent of Arabs 21%.
Ben-Gvir, 46 and a practicing lawyer, says he is balanced.
When asked about Ben-Gvir’s presence at the memorial, US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington that “celebrating the legacy of a terrorist organization is abhorrent.
“There is no other word for it – it is disgusting. And we remain concerned, as we have said before, about the legacy of Kahane Chai and the continued use of language among violent people who have and right wing,” said Price, adding that Washington has listed the group as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization.
The United States has “condemned the incitement of … violence and racism in all its forms,” Price said, repeating a call for calm and restraint in Israel.
Having placed first in last week’s election, former conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will need to cooperate with Ben-Gvir’s Zionist Party and other nationalist parties to achieve a stable majority in parliament.
That has raised eyebrows in Israel and abroad, given Ben-Gvir’s record, which includes a 2007 conviction for inciting racism and supporting terrorism, and anti-LGBT activity.
An immigrant living in the West Bank, which Israel won in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Ben-Gvir wants the Palestinian Authority, which has limited authority in other parts of the region under interim peace agreements. which are supported by the US, be abolished.
Ben-Gvir also supports Jewish prayer in Jerusalem’s holy shrine with the al-Aqsa mosque which is a remnant of the ancient Jewish temples.
Washington has publicly denied the possibility of Ben-Gvir’s participation in the governing coalition, saying it respects Israel’s democracy and is waiting for the confirmation of the new government and the statement of its policies to be included in the country’s long-term negotiations. of Palestine and Iran’s nuclear projects.
“We will see who will be in these positions and what position they take on their positions,” US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides told Israel’s Kan radio when asked by Ben-Gvir during Wednesday’s interview on Thursday.
“My job, as the U.S. ambassador, is to keep the dialogue going … but to push back on the things we don’t agree on. And I will be pushing back hard on the things we don’t agree on.” them too.”
Reporting by Dan Williams; Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Simon Lewis and Henriette Chacar; Edited by Howard Goller
Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.