Ben Gvir: Israel a democracy, but I understand calls to lock up opposition chiefs

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir arrives for a weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, on January 8, 2023. (RONEN ZVULUN / POOL / AFP)
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir arrives for a weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, on January 8, 2023. (RONEN ZVULUN / POOL / AFP)

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir says he “really, really understands” calls by MKs in his far-right Otzma Yehudit party to lock up opposition leaders who oppose the government, but concedes it won’t happen.

“No one is going to arrest opponents of the government, we are a democracy and Israel will continue being a democracy, but I really, really understand their feelings,” Ben Gvir tells Army Radio.

His comments come a day after Otzma Yehudit MK Zvika Fogel, a retired brigadier general in the Israel Defense Forces, called for jailing opposition leader Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, National Unity party leader Benny Gantz, and former MKs Yair Golan and Moshe Ya’alon for their denunciation of the Netanyahu coalition’s plans to overhaul the judicial system.

“When Zvika Fogel wakes up every morning to threats against him and to his country and our country, he has something to say,” Ben Gvir says.

“When [Otzma Yehudit MK] Almog Cohen wakes up, and by the way he is also threatened by all sorts of anarchists, and he wakes up and hears about civil uprisings, that things will end in bloodshed, that there will be a civil war — so what do you want,” Ben Gvir says.

Cohen had echoed Fogel’s sentiment, telling Channel 13 that if opposition leaders continue “their incitement and desire for bloodshed on the streets — they will be put in handcuffs.”

Most Popular