Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir hospitalized for COVID complications

Lawmaker first entered quarantine after experiencing virus symptoms last week; will remain under supervision at Hadassah Ein Kerem

MK Itamar Ben Gvir at the Knesset, oמ June 22, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MK Itamar Ben Gvir at the Knesset, oמ June 22, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir (Religious Zionism) was hospitalized on Saturday after his COVID-19 symptoms worsened, nearly a week after he was first diagnosed with the virus.

In a tweet, Ben Gvir said that he had been hospitalized at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center for testing and supervision.

Last Sunday, he tested positive for COVID-19, a day after self-isolating of his own accord.

“I thank the medical staff for their dedicated care, and the people of Israel for their prayers and well wishes,” he added on Saturday.

It was not immediately clear what his condition was.

Ben Gvir became the sixth MK to be infected with COVID-19 during the current fourth wave of the virus. In recent weeks, fellow party member Simcha Rotman was infected with the virus, along with MKs Gilad Kariv (Labor), Vladimir Beliak (Yesh Atid), Inbar Bezek (Yesh Atid), and Ofer Cassif (Joint List).

Kariv was released from the hospital on Thursday after suffering a serious case of COVID. Though his condition has improved, he still requires oxygen while at home.

Magen David Adom emergency service workers outside the coronavirus unit at the Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem, on October 19, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Ben Gvir entered the Knesset in March’s election after merging his far-right Otzma Yehudit party with Religious Zionism, in a deal brokered by then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Otzma Yehudit is made up of followers of the late racist rabbi Meir Kahane, a former MK whose Kach party was banned from the Knesset in the 1980s — the first instance of a party being banned for racism.

Otzma Yehudit supports encouraging emigration of non-Jews from Israel, and expelling Palestinians and Israeli Arabs who refuse to declare loyalty to Israel.

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