Israel-born far-right senator tapped to serve as Dutch immigration minister

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

Gidi Markuszower. (Party for Freedom)
Gidi Markuszower. (Party for Freedom)

An Israel-born Dutch lawmaker, Gidi Markuszower, is tapped to serve as the Netherlands’ immigration minister, local media reports.

Markuszower, who moved at a young age from his native Tel Aviv to Amsterdam with his family, is a longtime member of the anti-Islam, far-right Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders, which won the largest share of the vote in last year’s general election.

He is also one of three coalition ministers who will hold the title of deputy prime minister, which means they take on some of the prime minister’s responsibilities when the prime minister is away or indisposed.

The Party for Freedom and its three smaller coalition partners are in agreement in principle on tapping counter-terrorism professional Dick Schoof as prime minister. This follows the decision by Wilders and his party to outsource the job to a nonpartisan individual to facilitate the power-sharing deal.

Markuszower, 46, who in 2021 called the Netherlands’ immigration policy “a crime against the Dutch People,” is expected to set out a hard line when it comes to immigration and asylum applications.

Markuszower is a supporter of Israel and has been an active member in the Jewish community of the Netherlands, including within the Maccabi sports team. He is on record as calling in 2010 for a boycott of Jewish community members — whom he called “traitors in our midst” in an email — who supported the UN’s 2009 Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of breaking international humanization law in Gaza.

Markuszower, currently a senator, dropped out of an election campaign in 2010 due to a warning issued about him by the AIVD secret service, which said he had had contacts with an unnamed foreign intelligence agency.

Markuszower, who speaks Hebrew fluently, did not immediately reply to a request for an interview by The Times of Israel.

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