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Far-right MK Ben Gvir pulls gun on Arab security guards in clash over parking

Lawmaker says he felt his life was in danger as one guard threatened him with violence; video clips show guard and MK trading threats in underground Tel Aviv lot

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Screen capture from video of MK Itamar Ben Gvir, with a pistol in his right hand, during an altercation with Arab security guards at the Expo Tel Aviv conference center, December 21, 2021. (Twitter)
Screen capture from video of MK Itamar Ben Gvir, with a pistol in his right hand, during an altercation with Arab security guards at the Expo Tel Aviv conference center, December 21, 2021. (Twitter)

Itamar Ben Gvir, a firebrand far-right lawmaker for the opposition Religious Zionism party, pulled out a pistol during an altercation Tuesday with Arab security guards over a parking spot at the Expo Tel Aviv conference center.

Ben Gvir had arrived for an event at the center when the guards asked him to move his car, as it was apparently parked in a prohibited spot.

A dispute broke out, with Ben Gvir claiming the two security guards made aggressive threats that left him feeling his life was in danger.

The security guards did not appear to be armed.

The altercation was caught on video by one of the guards and, reportedly, also by Benzi Gopstein, the leader of the far-right, anti-LGBTQ Lehava organization, who was accompanying Ben Gvir to the event.

In one clip, Ben Gvir can be seen with his gun drawn, briefly holding it up to show it to the guards, and then keeping it down, still holding it, as he advances towards the pair, shouting: “You will not threaten me, I will take care of you.”

In Gopstein’s video, the guard can be seen shouting at Ben Gvir’s entourage: “If you are real men, come at me, all of you, without weapons, I will fuck up all of you.”

Ben Gvir, who claimed that he had offered to move his car, called the police, who questioned both the Knesset member and the security guards.

“The incident could have ended with a catastrophe,” Ben Gvir said in a statement. “I saw in front of me security guards with hate in their eyes who cursed me and threatened to harm me. At any moment they could have committed life-threatening violence.”

Ben Gvir urged police to file indictments against the guards, saying they should be in prison for the sake of public safety.

The Religious Zionism party said in a statement that the “assault on MK Itamar Ben Gvir” was a “serious matter that cannot be ignored.”

The party added that unlike some coalition MKs who have been given extra security in the face of threats against them, “when MK Ben Gvir is assaulted there are those who try to blame him. The hypocrisy is unbearable.”

Labor MK Naama Lazimi commented that Ben Gvir’s presence in the parliament was “a disgrace for all of Israel” and said he belongs in prison.

She demanded that sanctions be imposed on him, speaking to Israel National News, and added: “Ben Gvir must not be elected again to the Knesset.”

Ben Gvir has previously claimed there are threats against him and has demanded special protection.

In October, Ben Gvir was involved in a physical clash with an Arab lawmaker, MK Ayman Odeh, who leads the predominantly Arab-member Joint List party. The two confronted each other at the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, where a Palestinian hunger-striker suspected of terrorism was being treated.

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