Opposition calls for Israel PM to sack Ben-Gvir, as murder rate rises

Middle East Monitor  /  September 28, 2023

The Israeli opposition has called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to fire his National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, local media reported yesterday, after five members of a Palestinian family were shot dead in their home.

A sixth person, 50-year-old Ataf Abu Kalib, was also shot dead in broad daylight in Haifa yesterday.

“A redline was crossed here,” said police chief Kobi Shabtai at the scene of the murder of the family of five. “The people who carried out this attack, from our perspective, are terrorists; this is a terrorist act,” he added, vowing to bring the killers to justice.

“The murder today shows just how severe the neglect is and how widespread and deep the treatment must be,” National Unity leader Benny Gantz said. “The current government, which appointed Ben-Gvir, who is busy with provocations instead of saving human life, is not qualified to handle this problem.”

Gantz stressed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “must fire Ben-Gvir not only because of his actions, but mainly because of his neglect.”

Yesh Atid MK Ron Katz voiced similar sentiment, The Jerusalem Post reported. “This morning, a man was assassinated in the north,” he said, “and the idle minister is busy with interviews, TikTok videos, and planning prayer services to divide the people.”

“In what other country would this minister be kept in his position? How can it be that there is no price for failure in the State of Israel?”

The Jerusalem Post also reported National Unity MK Yifat Shasha-Biton saying: “There’s no governance, there’s no security, there are more and more victims, more and more crime, and there’s no light at the end of the darkness that has befallen us. Israel’s citizens are living in fear on [Netanyahu’s] watch.”

More than 180 Arab citizens in Israel have been killed in crime-related violence since January – a seven-year high – in a spate of killings that have continued unchecked, drawing accusations that Netanyahu’s religious-nationalist government is ignoring the bloodshed in Palestinian communities.