Israel’s Ben-Gvir, in leaked audio, cautious on advancing far-right agenda

Jerusalem, November 27 (Reuters) – The far-right party that holds a key post in Israel’s new government warned his party against trying to move too quickly on its agenda, saying in a leaked recording on Sunday that some planned legislation could suffer. .

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu last week promised Jewish Power leader Itamar Ben-Gvir the Ministry of National Security, a newly created portfolio with powers to manage police in Israel and the occupied West Bank.

Ben-Gvir, a West Bank settler whose record includes the 2007 The rise in convictions for anti-Arab incitement and support for a Jewish group on Israeli and US terror watch lists has raised concerns at home and abroad.

However, Ben-Gvir, who now works as a lawyer, says that his positions have become more moderate. These include expelling those it considers terrorists or traitors — not Arabs en masse — and looser open-fire rules for troops dealing with Palestinian unrest.

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Israel’s Army Radio broadcast a recording of a meeting of Jewish authorities in which a lawmaker discusses a proposed bill to deport those who express solidarity with the militants.

Ben-Gvir replies: “Suppose tomorrow morning … a family member comes and praises the actions of Dr. Goldstein – then they should be thrown out of the country?”

It concerns Baruch Goldstein, a settler who identified with the ultranationalist Jewish group Kach and in 1994. Palestinians were killed in a West Bank mosque. The attack prompted Israel to ban Kach, which once owned Ben-Gvir.

“Every bill you propose has very, very broad implications and impacts,” Ben-Gvir says in the post. “If you know what the impact is and you know what to do, I’m with you. But you have to understand everything first.”

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When asked by Army Radio, he confirmed the recording.

Ben-Gvir’s appointment, which a Channel 12 TV poll showed 49% of Israelis supported and 46% opposed, is pending the final formation of a government with a parliamentary majority.

The Noam party, which promotes strict Jewish laws, became the second coalition partner of Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party on Sunday, winning 39 of the 120 Knesset seats it has so far.

The Palestinians despised Ben-Gvir’s prudence.

“Ben-Gvir wants to go from being a noisy, law-breaking, racist and terrorist to someone with an official position so that he can turn this racism and hatred into official government policy through the positions he holds,” a Palestinian foreign affairs spokesman said. Minister Riyad al-Maliki.

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After the deal with Likud, Ben-Gvir also refused to be included in earlier calls to end Israeli police bans on Jews praying at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, which Jews revere as a remnant of their two ancient temples. The Palestinians and Jordan regard the Jewish prayer there as a provocation.

Pressed by Israel’s Kan Radio on Sunday, he said only that he would “do everything possible to prevent fanatical politics on the Temple Mount,” using the site’s biblical name.

Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Edited by Mark Heinrich and Hugh Lawson

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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