Communications Minister Ayoub Kara, who failed to gain a realistic position in the Likud primaries, was overheard angrily lashing out at his party Tuesday, calling members “Nazis” and a “mafia,” Channel 13 news reported.
Kara denied using those terms after he got embroiled in a shouting match when he came to appeal his standing in the party at Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv.
“The Likud are Nazis; a mafia of Amsalem and Biton,” Kara shouted, according to Channel 13 reporter Akiva Novick. Kara was referring to Likud MKs David Amsalem and David Bitan, staunch allies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and party strongmen.
His lawyer, Sigalit Gozlan, issued a statement denying the reports and said Kara made no such comment.
“These things have no basis in reality,” Gozlan said. “There was indeed a charged discussion, but anyone who knows the minister knows that these words are not part of his lexicon.”
Kara is upset that Netanyahu dropped him from the reserved spot that he had previously held for a minority group member on the Likud election candidate list. Kara is currently the country’s only cabinet minister from the Druze community.
He failed to gain enough votes in Likud primaries held February 5 to pick its list of candidates for the April 9 elections. His low position on the final slate left him outside of a realistic chance for getting re-elected to the Knesset.
Kara, who will turn 64 next month, has been in the Knesset since 1999, with short breaks in 2006-2009 and 2013-2015. In 2017, Netanyahu appointed him as a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and later made him communications minister.
He is currently the only Druze legislator for the ruling party. He has been known as a hawk who has taken relatively hardline positions on security and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He vocally opposed the 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the settlement construction freeze in 2009-2010.
Over the years, Kara has been active in interfaith activities and in improving Israeli relations with many countries, including Turkey and Austria, as well as with Druze communities in Lebanon and Syria.
However, he has also been involved in a series of sometimes bizarre diplomatic snafus.
Last year he was detained at the Dubai airport and missed his flight after apparently failing to heed instructions from airport officials.
In 2017, Morocco issued a rare official complaint to Israel after Kara posed for a picture with the prime minister of the breakaway Sahrawi Republic of southern Morocco.
In November 2016, Kara posted to his Facebook page details of a security-related incident involving the Jewish state, all elements of which are still under a gag order. The post was quickly taken down, but not before journalists and others saw the information.
A month earlier, Kara drew condemnation from the Foreign Ministry when, during a visit to Italy, he suggested that powerful earthquakes in that country were divine retribution for anti-Israel actions in the United Nations.
A staunch Netanyahu loyalist, he nonetheless lost the prime minister’s backing before the Likud Party primaries, for reasons that remain unclear.
In a Facebook post, Kara said he was disappointed, remarking that “it seems like the product of loyalty and credibility is unfortunately not in demand.”