Middle East Monitor / May 4, 2023
The Likud Party, headed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, slammed National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir over his party’s decision to boycott Knesset votes, local media reported.
Ben-Gvir said his Otzma Yehudit Party would boycott Knesset votes in protest against the “feeble response” to the firing of rockets by the Palestinian resistance in Gaza.
“I am giving notice here that we, Otzma Yehudit, will not be present for votes in the Knesset until the prime minister understands and internalises that the goal of this government is to be a real right-wing government,” he told the media during a visit to the town of Sderot, which lies near the besieged Gaza Strip.
In its reply, Likud said that if he did not like the way Netanyahu is running the government, he could leave it.
Ben-Gvir fired back and said that his party would continue to refrain from voting with the coalition until Netanyahu adopted more hardline policies.
According to The Times of Israel, Ben-Gvir was angered by his exclusion from security deliberations held on Tuesday over the Israeli response to the rockets fired from Gaza.
“The prime minister, Defence minister, the IDF [army] and security agencies are the ones who handle the sensitive and complex security incidents that Israel is dealing with,” Likud said in a statement.
“The prime minister is the one who decides who is a relevant participant in the discussions. If this is unacceptable to Minister Ben-Gvir, he does not have to remain in the government,” it added.
“I am saying as explicitly as possible: If he wants us in the government he needs to invite us to these deliberations — and not as it has happened in the last four months, when the decisions have already been made,” Ben-Gvir said.