Middle East Monitor / May 7, 2023
Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Sunday boycotted a weekly Cabinet meeting in protest of government policies.
Ben-Gvir, along with two ministers of his hardline Jewish Strength Party, said he will not attend Cabinet meetings to protest a decision by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to return the bodies of three Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks against Israeli forces, according to Yedioth Ahronoth daily.
The far-right official also rejected a decision by the Israeli government to release Jordanian lawmaker Imad Adwan, who was arrested last month for allegedly attempting to smuggle weapons by his car into the West Bank.
“This government is a right-wing government and the public did not give us a mandate to return the bodies of terrorists or to refrain from bombing Gaza. It is not too late to lead a powerful and offensive security policy,” Ben-Gvir said.
Ben-Gvir’s absence from the government meeting was the latest development of the crisis between the far-right minister and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On Thursday, Ben-Gvir announced that his party, which has six lawmakers in the 120-member Knesset, will not vote on the government decisions as a sign of protest against the Cabinet policies.
Ben-Gvir was particularly angry with what he considered a weak response by the Israeli army to rocket fire from Gaza following the death of a Palestinian hunger striker in an Israeli prison last week.