The new government’s strongman is the leader of the far-right Jewish Power party. Supporting a hard line against “terrorism and criminality”, Ben-Gvir has repeatedly affirmed his intention to establish the death penalty for terrorists and to withdraw citizenship from Israeli Arabs who commit attacks. He has also called for an end to the status quo that prohibits Jews from praying on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, and to no longer recognize liberal Jewish conversions as qualifying under the law of return.
Born in 1976 in the Jerusalem suburb Mevaseret Tzion and raised in a secular family of Iraqi-Kurdish origin, Ben-Gvir was won over by radical religious militancy during the First Intifada. He first joined a right-wing youth movement affiliated with Moledet, a party that campaigns for the transfer of Arabs out of Israel, before joining the even more radical youth movement of the Kach party, later designated as a terrorist organization and banned by the Israeli government. Founded by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, this party asserts that the majority of Arabs living in Israel are enemies of the Jews and the state itself, and advocates for the creation of a theocratic Jewish state where non-Jews should not have the right to vote.
Meet Israel’s new minister of “National Security”, Itamar Ben-Gvir (The man in the white shirt in the video)