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Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir tests positive for COVID-19

Lawmaker first entered quarantine after experiencing virus symptoms; was last at the parliament building on Wednesday

MK Itamar Ben Gvir at the Knesset on July 26, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MK Itamar Ben Gvir at the Knesset on July 26, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir (Religious Zionism) tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, a day after self-isolating of his own accord.

Ben Gvir said he feels well and entered quarantine on Sunday after experiencing virus symptoms.

“This morning, I was asked why I went for a test, and I replied that it is our duty to maintain the health of those around us. If you have a doubt, there is no doubt. Go get vaccinated and get tested — it saves lives,” Ben Gvir tweeted.

The Knesset announced that Ben Gvir was last at the parliament building on August 11.

He became the sixth MK to be infected with COVID-19 in the current, fourth virus wave. 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).

According to the Health Ministry, 5,083 new infections were recorded on Sunday, with a further 2,618 cases diagnosed by Monday morning, bringing the number of active cases in the country to 50,693.

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 and accept diminished status in an expanded Jewish state whose sovereignty extends throughout the West Bank.

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