The wife of far-right leader Itamar Ben Gvir brought her pistol to a get-together at a swanky Jerusalem hotel with the spouses of other presumptive coalition heads hosted by Sara Netanyahu Monday.
In a photo sent out by Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party on the “team building” event at Jerusalem’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, the gun can be seen in the waistband of Ayala Ben Gvir’s skirt as she poses for a photo with the other wives.
In response to apparent criticism on social media, Ayala Ben Gvir put out a statement telling people to “deal with it.”
“I live in Hebron, am a mother of six sweet children, drive on terror-hit roads and am married to the most threatened man in the country, so yeah, I have a pistol,” she wrote on Twitter.
Her husband, like many other residents of West Bank settlements, also regularly carries a firearm in public due to potential security risks.
Itamar Ben Gvir, the head of the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit faction, has drawn scrutiny for brandishing his gun on several occasions over the past year, including in December when he waved a pistol during an argument with Arab parking attendants in Tel Aviv who told him to remove his vehicle from a prohibited spot.
איילה בן גביר הגיעה מוכנה למפגש עם שרה נתניהו ונשות ראשי הקואליציה: שימו לב לאקדח pic.twitter.com/SVuMMd5kNf
— מיכאל שמש Michael Shemesh (@shemeshmicha) November 14, 2022
Police later questioned him over the incident, but he was not charged.
Last month, he took out a pistol during a standoff between Jews and Palestinians in Jerusalem’s flashpoint Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
Ben Gvir is seeking to be police minister after the Religious Zionism alliance that Otzma Yehudit ran with finished as the third largest electoral slate in the November 1 vote.
Along with Ayala Ben Gvir, the wives of Noam leader Avi Maoz, Aguday Yisrael chief Moshe Goldknopf and Shas head Aryeh Deri were at the event with Sara Netanyahu.
Neither the spouses of Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich or Degel HaTorah chief Moshe Gafni were in attendance. A spokesperson for Smotrich said his wife could not attend for “personal reasons” and denied her absence was linked to ongoing coalition talks, which have reportedly hit turbulence.
Gafni’s office said his wife “could not make it at the last moment,” without elaborating.