Ben-Gvir to demand sensitive post from Netanyahu

Ben-Gvir is a proud follower of slain Rabbi Meir Kahane, who served in the Knesset from 1981 to 1985 and whose Kach Party was then banned from running again because it was deemed racist.

Itamar Ben Gvir (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)
Itamar Ben Gvir
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will need to give a plum post to Itamar Ben-Gvir to persuade him to enter his coalition and cast his decisive 61st vote, people close to the far-right Otzma Yehudit Party leader said Sunday night, confirming a report on Channel 12.
“Itamar Ben-Gvir will not be part of the government, but he will be part of our coalition, just as [Michael] Ben-Ari was, and he did not have any influence,” Netanyahu said Sunday at a press conference with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.
Michael Ben-Ari, who was part of the Otzma LeYisrael Party that became Otzma Yehudit, served in the 18th Knesset from 2009 to 2013, when Netanyahu was prime minister, but he never joined his coalition.
Otzma Yehudit is running together with MK Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionist Party. But when Ben-Gvir and Smotrich joined forces, they said it was only a “technical bloc” and that they would split up after the March 23 election.
Ben-Gvir intends to conduct his own coalition talks if Netanyahu receives the mandate to form a government from President Reuven Rivlin. He will demand to head the Knesset Law and Constitution Committee or the Interior Committee in return for enabling Netanyahu to build a coalition, sources close to Ben-Gvir said. Both posts deal with very sensitive issues for Israel.
Ben-Gvir is a proud follower of slain Rabbi Meir Kahane, who served in the Knesset from 1981 to 1985 and whose Kach Party was then banned from running again because it was deemed racist. Ben-Gvir and Otzma Yehudit have not adopted the racist elements of Kach’s platform and have repeatedly been permitted to run by the Central Elections Committee and the Supreme Court.
In an effort to connect Netanyahu to Ben-Gvir in the eyes of voters, prime ministerial hopeful Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope Party advertised a billboard on the Likud’s Tel Aviv headquarters.
The ad pictures Netanyahu alongside Ben-Gvir and United Arab List MK Mansour Abbas with the words, “A government for him.”
Underneath it is a photo of Sa’ar alongside the leaders of Yesh Atid and Yamina, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, respectively, and the words, “A government for everyone.”