Reflecting on Meir Kahane and Israel's Emerging Far-Right

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Published on 22 Feb 2019, 12:45
THE SPIN ROOM | Israel's far right-wing party with roots in Meir Kahane's ideas merged with two larger political parties, bringing into question the direction of Israel's politics. Israeli author Yossi Klein Halevi discusses with host Calev Ben-David.

Story:

Jewish Power party representative Itamar Ben-Gvir accused natural ally National Union of having reneged on an alliance in an interview with Galey Israel radio on Sunday.

'I don't want to embarrass Smotrich, but I have no choice,' said the firebrand lawyer and political activist, referring to National Union party chief and current parliamentarian Bezalel Smotrich.

'Last Wednesday, we signed an agreement [that gave us] two places, 4th and 7th,' Ben-Gvir said. 'We signed paperwork, but suddenly he dismisses it and signs with Jewish Home instead, and offers us just the sixth place,' he added.

Jewish Home and National Union signed a deal last week that would see the alliance get seven seats in the upcoming legislature. Individually, each party is dangerously close to the 3.25 percent threshold necessary to enter parliament.

Rabbi Rafi Peretz will take the first spot in the slate, with Smotrich as number two.

Smotrich is a staunch advocate for religious Zionism as a political force. A resident of the West Bank himself, he has been a strong supporter of the settlement enterprise. Known for controversial actions and statements, he has also been realistic about his prospects within a standalone faction, and has called for alliance with the Jewish Home party from day one.

Jewish Power is a far-right outfit associated with Kahanist, integrist ideology. Ben-Gvir is a lawyer, who works extensively with Jewish terror suspects. He often represents himself, and members of Lehava, a political organization opposed to Jewish integration with other groups.

Last Wednesday, Facebook removed the group's page for violating its rules. 'While Facebook allows terrorists to incite to murder Jews freely, it silences and tramples the freedom of expression of a Zionist party that is running in the elections for the Knesset,' Ben-Gvir said at the time.

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