Ahead of election, Israeli PM Netanyahu reaches out to racist, violent extremist groups
As the Israeli elections near, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working with an extreme right-wing party as his two centrist political opponents, former army chief of staff, Benny Gantz, and Yair Lapid merge their campaigns on a joint ticket.
Amid fiery political campaigns and a close race, Netanyahu is working to secure his position by creating a coalition between the Jewish Home, the Otzma Yehudit—known as Jewish Power, and other far right radical groups with histories of violence against Arabs.
Many members of the Otzma Yehudit are among the most ultra nationalist political sections of Israeli governance, and are ardent followers of Meir Kahane, a deceased radical right-wing rabbi who formed the Kache party. A notable Kache member is Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 24 Palestinians praying in a Hebron mosque in 1994.
“Netanyahu isn’t only failing to condemn right-wing extremism; he is working to strengthen it, and to endorse it … Netanyahu is effectively providing immunity to the most violent elements in Israeli society”
— JewishVoiceForPeace (@jvplive) February 21, 2019
Despite the ardent Zionism of pro-Israel groups, many of them are alarmed at the extreme right-wing parties growing in Israeli society and government. The pro-Israel centrist group Yachad UK wrote on Twitter, “The leaders of this newly merged faction represent values that are inimical to anyone that considers themselves to be a believer in democracy, justice, and Jewish values.”
To secure his majority in the Knesset, Netanyahu is teaming up with the ultra right-wing group that is inspired by terrorists. Our statement: pic.twitter.com/RjS6OoPyZ7
— Yachad UK (@YachadUK) February 21, 2019
According to the Washington Post, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the reform Jewish movement, tweeted, “Bolstering one’s political strength with those who profess racist views should be unthinkable.”
Earlier this week, Netanyahu also hosted the right-wing prime ministers of Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia. According to Haaretz, Likud MK Anat Berko even acknowledged the anti-Semitism of these leaders, stating, “They might be anti-Semites, but they’re on our side.”