Nov 29, 2022
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The biggest story of the recent Israeli election was the rise of the Religious Zionist Party with the focus being on the controversial head of the Otzma Yehudit Party, Itamar Ben Gvir, and the Religious Zionist Party winning 14 seats in the elections. But this victory came with a shadow. For years he was considered too volatile for the Knesset and Ben Gvir’s reputation has risen concern among some international leaders (ahead of the elections two US Democrat politicians reportedly warned Netanyahu that forming a coalition with the religious zionist party could endanger US relations with Israel).

Yishai Fleisher, the International Spokesman for the Jewish Community and the English-language spokesman for Ben Gvir claims these concerns simply ignore the problems of average Israelis.

“The criticisms of Ben Gvir are character attacks that ignore the concerns of the average Israeli,” Fleisher told Israel365 News. “They claim that he is racist but Ben Gvir supports the anti-racist policy of having Jews pray on the Temple Mount. It is not racist to want stronger security for Israel. That helps all our citizens; Jew, Christian, and Muslim alike.”

Ben Gvir, a lawyer, until recently was considered a pariah and untouchable even by most of the Right because of racist statements he had made. 

Currently, he states that he does not have a problem with the general Arab population but only with those who are “disloyal” to the State of Israel. For this reason, he wants to establish a new ministry for encouraging the immigration of “enemies” and people who are “disloyal” to the state. 

In addition, he would like to introduce the death penalty for terrorists (Israeli law permits the death penalty though it has only been imposed twice in the history of the state.)  

“Even the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria can benefit from his work,” Fleisher said. “Ben Gvir is labeled racist for calling out the corrupt Palestinian Authority which systematically represses Palestinian society while preaching Israel-hate as a matter of course.”

Fleisher said that one of the main reasons that there was such an overwhelming vote is because there is currently a security threat the average person feels. 

“It is universal across the country. Whether they are religious people walking the streets in Jerusalem or if they have a business in the south or in the north,” he said. “Mixed cities used to be safe but now, in cities like Akko, Yaffo, and Ramlah,  people feel threatened. Women especially feel threatened to walk around at night whether it is Beer or in French Hill in Jerusalem.”

He noted that the US lawmakers from the Democratic party had tried to influence Netanyahu to refrain from forming a government with Ben Gvir.

“The US politicians and media think the support for the center-right is based on racism and intolerance,” Fleisher said. He noted that the party and the man once considered extremist were now mainstream, attracting a wide voter base. 

“It’s about defense for the average person. The Religious Zionist message is a call for law and order. In many ways, this is a law and order party.”

“Itamar Ben fear is a civil rights lawyer making sure that there’s order in the system,” he added. He wants to ensure that the police can do their job.”

Fleisher explained that this is another source of support for the party.

“That’s why so many police officers voted for the Religious Zionist Party,” Fleisher said. “Because they want a stronger hand against the real criminals”

Fleisher said that in Israel, violence is usually nationalistic in nature bordering on foreign policy. 

“The motivator of violence is not rights or the lack of rights or lack of this or that,” he said. “It is ideological jihadism. The Palestinian Authority recently released an announcement, congratulating themselves for 7,200 acts of violence this year. Taking a strong stand against that is not racist.”

Fleisher pointed out that across the board, religious parties did well in the election.

“The Israeli public voted for Judaism as opposed to globalism,” he said. “Globalism wants to wants to undermine local national heritage. This was a vote for more Jewish as opposed to a more globalist country. It’s about coming in and helping change the country to do to act like it’s supposed to act, to promote a Jewish state to give minorities freedom from the abuses of the jihad and from the bullies. And it’s basically a law and order party.”

“This election was a step towards defending our country and letting people live in safety,” Fleisher said. “That is actually one of the things which makes us really unique in the Middle East. With the help of God, these elections were a step towards defending our country and allowing all Israelis to live in safety. Israel is a safe harbor from Jihadism and is a beacon of freedom for the peoples in the Abrahamic Region.”