Israeli rapper Yoav "HaTzel (The Shadow)" Eliasi.
(photo credit: Lahav Harkov)
Controversial rapper Yoav “Hatzel” (The Shadow) Eliasi on Monday received an endorsement for joining the Likud from Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara.
“The Likud party belongs to the people of Israel,” Kara wrote on Facebook. “There are no boycotts, and no one will be ostracized. Everyone is invited to join and will be welcomed.”
Kara told a crowd of Likud activists in Or Yehuda Sunday that the Likud was always democratic, liberal and pluralistic, and it never closed its doors before to any person or view.
“The Likud is a silhouette of the people of Israel, reflecting the real, unique mosaic of Israeli society,” he said. “That is how it has been, and that is how it will be. We will know how to handle everyone who comes at any time.”
Eliasi has been slammed by leading Likudniks, including Minister-without-Portfolio Tzachi Hanegbi, who wrote Likud director-general Gadi Arieli and attorney-general Avi Halevy, asking them to prevent him from joining the party.
Eliasi was part of one of Israel’s most successful hip hop groups, the TACT family, led by rapper Subliminal, but is better known in recent years for making controversial political statements and taking part in violent demonstrations, many of which were counter-rallies against left-wing activists.
He is associated with radical right-wing groups and figures, like Hebron activist Baruch Marzel, soccer hooligans La Familia, and anti-miscegenation group Lehava, and uses social media to spread his views, which have been criticized by many as racist incitement.
Former Likud minister Dan Meridor became the latest to criticize Eliasi Monday, telling The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew sister newspaper Ma’ariv that he is embarrassed by people like him joining the party, while he continues to pay membership dues. Meridor said he would not rule out making a political comeback.
“When I think I can make an impact and make necessary changes according to my nationalist and liberal values, I will find a way to come back,” he said. “When there will be elections, I will make a decision about whether to come back. I currently have no concrete offer but things change quickly.”
The Likud’s secretariat will meet next Tuesday to decide new rules for running the party.
Party officials close to Prime Minister and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu like Halevy will be questioned about the party comptroller’s report on unauthorized money spent in the 2015 general election.