Who are Itamar Ben-Gvir's fellow party members and what do they believe?

These politicians are expected to soon become members of the Knesset - it is best to know who exactly they are.

 Head of the Otzma Yehudit party Itamar Ben Gvir speaks to supporters as the results of the exit polls for the Israeli elections are announced, at the party's campaign headquarters, November 1, 2022. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Head of the Otzma Yehudit party Itamar Ben Gvir speaks to supporters as the results of the exit polls for the Israeli elections are announced, at the party's campaign headquarters, November 1, 2022.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

The Religious Zionist Party, led by Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir, won big in the elections for the 25th Knesset. Now, its members are expected to soon become members of the Knesset - it is best to know who exactly they are.

Yitzhak Wasserlauf, 5th place in Otzma Yehudit 

Wasserlauf, 30, is married with three children and is a resident of South Tel Aviv. He was raised in a religious Zionist family and participated in the hesder program during his army service, splitting his time between yeshiva and service in the Golani Brigade. 

His wife was raised in an ultra-Orthodox home in Tel Aviv, and their children were sent to study in ultra-Orthodox educational institutions.

Wasserlauf is considered very loyal to Ben Gvir, and recently in an interview with Makor Rishon, he took a firm stand against the Reform Jewish movement, claiming that they "brought enormous destruction to American Jewry, assimilation is a terrible blow. They make a mockery of religion. [They] celebrate bar mitzvah's for dogs and they have weddings with a rabbi and a priest simultaneously. The result is losing a large percentage of the Jews in the United States every year. Here in Israel, there are almost no Reform communities, they just make noise as if they have [widespread Israeli] support."

Almog Cohen, 7th place in Otzma Yehudit

 Otzma Yehudit party member Almog Cohen during a an election campaign conference in Ramat Gan, September 4, 2022.  (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90) Otzma Yehudit party member Almog Cohen during a an election campaign conference in Ramat Gan, September 4, 2022. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

Dubbed "the warrior from the Negev" by Ben Gvir, Cohen, married with two children, is a right-wing activist, who established an armed civil patrol in the Negev. Cohen served for about a decade in the Israel Police. Before his election to the Knesset, Cohen deleted his Facebook and Twitter accounts, but he was prolific online before doing so.

He wrote about police officers that they are the "attack dogs of post-Nazism", and during Pride month he wrote that "the pride parade is a completely animalistic parade of unbridled and unrestrained sex partying while harassing boys and minors. And, above all, [it is] a shocking spectacle of hard and sick porn". 

On the eve of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Cohen expressed support for Putin: "We learned from him what leadership is - make a decision and the world explodes."

Rabbi Amichai Eliyahu, 9th place in Otzma Yehudit

Eliyahu, a married father of six from Rimonim is the son of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Safed. He served in the IDF paratroopers and was one of the founders of the court for protection against sexual abuse by people in power.

Recently he caused an uproar after he wrote of the Minister of Transportation Merav Michaeli "whoever bought a child on Amazon, will not educate us", when she declared her intention to operate public transportation on Shabbat. He did eventually backpedal and clarify his statement. 

Eliyahu also takes a firm stand against the LGBT community and has in the past claimed that "the solution is simple - to stop being to come out of the closet and say out loud that same-sex relationships are bad. Period. It is forbidden, it is the opposite of Judaism, it is against the will of [God], it is not natural, it is not normal, it is not healthy. It's bad".

Zvika Fogel, 10th place in Otzma Yehudit

Brigadier General Tzvika Vogel, married and a father of three, is a member of the Israel Defense and Security Forum, which calls for the annexation of the Jordan Valley. Vogel served as Chief of Staff of the Southern Command, and commander of the fire coordination center of the Southern Command during Operations Cast Lead and Pillar of Defense.

He recently said that "an Arab who throws a stone at a soldier should be shot in the head, a Jew who throws a stone at a soldier should be educated."

Limor Son-Har Melech, 13th place in Otzma Yehudit

Son-Har Melech, 43 years old, married and mother of 10, is a resident of Shavei Shomron in the West Bank. She was among the first religious Jews to settle in the West Bank town of Homesh, where she lived with her husband Shuli Har Melech until he was murdered in 2003. She herself was injured during the attack while pregnant and went into labor that evening with their daughter. 

Later, she got married to her current husband Yehuda.

Son-Har Melech has become one of the symbols of the struggle against secession in northern Samaria. She is a founder of Homesh First, a grassroots organization attempting to resettle the Homesh settlement in northern Samaria.