National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said on Friday in a post, that he does not apologize nor does he retract his comments that his and his family's right to travel safely on West Bank roads, trumps the rights of Palestinians for freedom of movement. In the same post, he also invited Israel critic, model Bella Hadid to his home to see how Jews are murdered daily.
"To Israel hater Bella Hadid," Ben-Gvir wrote in his post on X. "I saw that yesterday you took a clip from my interview and spread it across the world intending to portray me as a dark racist. I invite you to my house in Kiryat Arba to see how we live here, how Jews who have done nothing bad to anyone are being murdered every day, what threats my wife my children and I receive daily from terrorists who live nearby," he wrote. "So yes. My right and that of my Jewish brothers, to drive home safely on the roads of Judea and Samaria comes before the rights of terrorists who hurl stones at us and murder us. I do not apologize or retract my words and I will repeat them 1,000 times. Am Israel Hai."
"The right to live trumps freedom of movement for Palestinians, full stop," the minister told Ynet. "We are not standing down and that is the truth. Now that the left-wing and the BDS are pouncing on my words in order to hurt Israel, will not deter me." Hadid shared with her more than 60 million followers the minister's words claiming they are proof that Israel is an apartheid state.
In his interview on Wednesday, Ben-Gvir addressed Mohammad Magadli, an Arab Israeli journalist who was on the panel in the studio, saying: "Sorry Mohammad, but this is the reality, that's the truth. My right for life comes before their right to movement."
Ben-Gvir's comments to Channel 12 on Wednesday, sparked outrage among critics of Israel and defenders alike. Abe Foxman, who served as national director of the Anti-Defamation League until 2015 called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to immediately fire the minister.
The U.S. State Department denounced Ben-Gvir's comments calling them "inflammatory"
"We condemn all racist rhetoric; as such messages are particularly damaging when amplified by those in leadership positions and are incongruent with advancing respect for human rights for all."
"The values of democracy and respect for human rights stand central to the EU-Israel partnership, including as regards the people living under occupation in the Palestinian territory," the EU said in a statement on Friday.
"In his comments, he admitted that the policy he intends to advance as a minister is conclusively one of apartheid. According to international law and the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ben-Gvir is calling for a systemic regime of oppression and the power of one race over another in the occupied territories, Nic Kaufman, an Israeli attorney at the ICC and an expert on international law, said.
First published: 15:52, 08.25.23