National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir warned the "Brothers in Arms" organization that he planned to sue them on Saturday night after the organization claimed that the minister had dodged military service.
Ben-Gvir called the claims of the organization "a complete lie" and demanded NIS 10 million in compensation. The minister also demanded that Brothers in Arms publish an apology on social media and wherever else the campaign about his lack of military service was published.
"In recent weeks, you published a huge campaign in Israeli media in which the picture of my client appeared next to the picture of other ministers in the Israeli government, and you claimed that he was draft dodging," wrote Ben-Gvir's lawyer, Yishai Gispan, in a warning letter to the organization.
Gispan added that Ben-Gvir wanted to enlist in the IDF, but was not permitted to do so.
"When my client arrived for an interview at the recruiting office, he was asked about his political views. At some point, it was decided not to recruit him, and despite the fact that my client was on hunger strike in front of the recruiting office, and his mother - who served in the IDF and commanded soldiers - contacted the chief of staff at the time, they did not receive any answer," wrote the lawyer. "I don't know anyone else who was willing to make such efforts in order to enlist. Should a person such as this be called a 'dodger'?!"
Ben-Gvir's son is getting ready to start pre-military preparatory school.
Ben-Gvir's affiliation with a terrorist organization
At the age of 16, Ben-Gvir began working with Meir Kahane's far-right Kach Party and served as a youth coordinator for the party. Ben-Gvir claims that he was barred from military service due to his connection to the party.
The Kach Party was outlawed as a terrorist organization in 1994 after Baruch Goldstein, a supporter of the movement, murdered 20 Palestinians at the Tomb of the Patriarchs and members of the party called him a "hero." Ben-Gvir turned 18 years old, the age of enlistment, that year.
Ben-Gvir, the head of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, has been indicted dozens of times and convicted eight times, including on charges of rioting and supporting a terrorist organization, among other charges.
Ben-Gvir used to keep a photo of Goldstein hanging in his living room. While Ben-Gvir stated in a speech last year that he “does not think Goldstein is a hero,” in 2011, the minister referred to him as “a righteous man” and “a hero.”
Bereaved families protest against Ben-Gvir's participation in Remembrance Day ceremony
In recent weeks, families of fallen soldiers have protested against plans by Ben-Gvir and other government members to arrive at the Remembrance Day ceremony at the military cemetery in Beersheba.
The families told Maariv that "It is unthinkable that Itamar Ben-Gvir, who was interrogated by the Shin Bet, would come to Beersheba. It has nothing to do with the right or the left, it's Ben-Gvir - extremism like no other. The protest is against Ben-Gvir. He was not in the army, he was a terrorist and was investigated by the Shin Bet."
Liron, who lost her brother in battle, told Maariv "Ben-Gvir did not join the army. He was convicted of supporting a terrorist organization, hanging a picture of Baruch Goldstein in his house and inciting the assassination of a prime minister. Is this the person who deserves to speak in a military cemetery? I believe they want a provocation, they want to make the protest illegitimate in order to arouse the right-wing audience who will be shocked by the desecration of the memorials."
"We are not going to shout and ruin the ceremony," added Liron. "During Ben-Gvir's speech, I want to put my hands over my ears and sing the song "Hareut" ("The Brotherhood"), which talks about brotherhood between people. I hope it doesn't turn into shouting, that's the goal of whoever put him in the ceremony. I specifically oppose Ben-Gvir, there are much more than 23 families who oppose his arrival. I don't care who the prime minister is. I really don't want the person who spoke at a terrorist's memorial - to also speak at my brother's memorial."