The US administration and some Jewish organizations in the US are “concerned” about the possibility of Otzma Yehudit chairman MK Itamar Ben-Gvir being appointed as a minister in the future government of Binyamin Netanyahu, Yisrael Hayom reported on Wednesday evening.
A Biden administration official told Yisrael Hayom that “the administration is following the political developments with concern and is disturbed by the possibility that the Otzma Yehudit chairman will be appointed a minister in a future government in Israel.”
“Of course, we are following what is happening. It’s too early to comment on the matter, but if things come to a point where such a scenario is on the agenda, there is no doubt that the administration will clarify its position. For us, this will be a huge problem,” he asserted, adding that the opposition chairman, Netanyahu, is well aware of the issues.
“Anyone who has common sense understands the problem. Look at the man’s history – his actions and his statements. This is not someone we want to see as part of a government. Netanyahu is very smart and experienced and understands the consequences of such a development. We haven’t discussed it with him yet since, as mentioned, we’re at an early stage. But there is no doubt that he understands.”
An unnamed “senior leader of American Jewry,” who according to the report is not politically progressive, was harsher in his comments, telling Yisrael Hayom that the inclusion of Ben-Gvir in an Israeli government will create a very difficult problem for him and his colleagues. “Our efforts in defending Israel are focused on ensuring that it maintains its legitimacy to present its positions and can be trusted even in cases where there are concerns that mistakes were made. But Ben-Gvir becoming a minister in the government will take away our ability to defend Israel.”
“In American terms, it is like the Ku Klux Klan in the Israeli government. It’s an insurmountable issue. We’ll have no ability to defend it,” he claimed.
The senior Jewish official rejected Ben Gvir’s recent overtures [when he clarified that some of his past statements, such as “Death to Arabs” were mistaken] as not being credible. However, he added that Ben-Gvir supporting the government from the outside or joining a coalition without being appointed as a minister could be a tolerable compromise.
The Otzma Yehudit party responded: “It turns out that there is no limit to the cynical exploitation of Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in his position, who is now trying to drag a US official into interfering in the Israeli election process via false reports. Lapid is destroying Israel’s foreign relations and ceding its sovereignty for political interests.”
“Regarding that ‘source’ from the Reform community – we understand the zeal of the Reform in the US to try to prevent the establishment of a right-wing government in Israel but it won’t help – we’ll establish a strong and stable right-wing government.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)