Itamar Ben Gvir inspired by MLK to celebrate extremist party’s win

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Itamar Ben Gvir, a Jewish supremacist seemingly slated to enter the Knesset with Religious Zionism, decides to channel civil rights icon Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in a victory speech to supporters.

“I have a dream,” he says. “I have a dream that IDF soldiers will live in a nation that has their backs. … I have a dream that a right-wing government will strengthen the Jewish identity of the country.”

Ben Gvir was carried to the stage while lifted by supporters on a chair, adding to an already palpable Orthodox wedding vibe at the event, with large circle dances for the men and a walled-off space in the corner for the women.

Party leader Bezalel Smotrich ascends the stage to speak after him, but only after showing off his dance moves.

“We will put the Torah first,” Smotrich says. “Blessed are you Lord our God, the good and the benevolent.”

Smotrich says his party managed to bring unity to the national religious camp.

Itamar Ben Gvir speaking at a Religious Zionism event on March 23, 2021. (Jacob Magid/Times of Israel)

Smotrich highlights the party’s secret weapon — thousands of young activists from across Israel and the settlements who volunteered their time on behalf of the party.

“No other party had this,” he boasts.

Also present is Bentzi Gopstein from the anti-miscegenation group Lehava who was banned from running for Knesset in 2019.

He tells The Times of Israel that he’s confident that the Religious Zionism MKs will “fix this injustice.”

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