I have read several news articles about Israel's Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir and his so-called actions. He is viewed as a controversial Israeli politician who works outside of the box and accepted standards to get his point of view across.
I have always thought outside of the box and perhaps have been looked at as being controversial. Questioning many things that seem common to people and thinking critically can sometime scare people. Therefore, I have always been cautious, since my teenage years, when it comes to the Middle East conflict.
Watching several pro-Palestinian demonstrations made me question the other side’s point of view and what the Israelis have really gone through. It was almost impossible in the early 1990s to find public information about what the Israelis were dealing with due to all the violence. After I became vocal in support of the existence of Israel 10 years ago, I had the chance to visit the country for the first time and see the reality with my own eyes.
I was almost shocked to discover how all religions live together in coexistence. The biggest shock was hearing the Adhan (call to prayer) at one of the hundreds of mosques that exist throughout the state of Israel.
The word apartheid should never be used to describe Israel nor its policies because it is just a propagandistic lie.
During my visits to Israel, I have seen that most people describe themselves as either left or right, but I know that all Israelis in general care about their security and way of life.
A personality such as Ben-Gvir may seem strange and blunt. And I think that he is right on several counts, especially when discussing state security issues.
His latest statement about his and his family’s security made major headlines worldwide, calling him racist and a killer. Even the Biden administration got involved in Israel’s internal affairs by commenting on Ben-Gvir’s statement. What happened to freedom of speech and the American model of democracy?
While reading in different international media outlets about this statement I could see the unique focus on hatred of Israel and the word apartheid. There is no talk about the dozens of Israeli victims of terror since the start of this year, which has exceed 40 deaths. How can we blame someone who speaks about his own security and the security of his family and his fellow citizens.
There are two controversial issues that Ben Gvir is bringing up here. The issue of Judea and Samaria (the biblical names of areas of the West Bank), and the free and secure movement of Israelis there. By commenting on Ben-Gvir’s statement, the United States and other organizations are recognizing that Judea and Samaria are part of Israel, and that Arabs and Jews are living there.
Although I have never visited the West Bank, I know that I would be as shocked as I was in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Arabs in those Israeli cities were enjoying life, freedom of movement and religion. I would have never thought that I would experience something like that in a state that is so hated around the world.
My experience fighting the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement a while back taught me many things about the hate directed at Israel. Many stories are made up, supporters are attacked, and fake media materials have been created.
I think that Israeli citizens and the Israeli defense establishment should be very careful about all that they read and hear. Media attacks on Ben-Gvir should be read carefully and analyzed. Israel is a tiny state that is surrounded by many enemies and has other enemies throughout the world. Outside forces may try to sway public opinion inside Israel through the media and other means. Israel should always think about its existence and security first.
The latest media attack against Ben-Gvir has to do with the issue of visitors to Palestinians in Israeli prisons. Looking at it logically, security prisoners should not have privileges that give them the ability to live comfortably inside Israeli prisons. All the changes that Ben-Gvir is recommending to the prison system will benefit the security of Israel in the long term.
Israel is regarded as the only true democracy in the region, and I have seen and experienced that. I do not feel as secure in other Muslim and Arab states as I feel in Israel. I think that people like Ben Gvir should be taken seriously and listened to, because in the end they just want to keep Israel peaceful and secure for its people.
Amine Ayoub is an economic and policy consultant who lives in Morocco