Police chief said to blame extreme-right MK Ben Gvir for fanning violence

Police chief Kobi Shabtai tells Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that extreme-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir is responsible for ongoing Arab-Jewish riots, Channel 12 reports.

During a morning briefing, Shabtai says that every time police appear to be getting an area under control, Ben Gvir, the Kahanist member of the Religious Zionist party, shows up to fan the flames.

“The person who is responsible for this Intifada is Itamar Ben Gvir. It started with the Lehava protest at Damascus Gate,” Shabtai says. “It continued with provocations in Sheikh Jarrah, and now he is moving around with Lehava activists.”

MK Itamar Ben-Gvir (front), head of the Jewish extremist Otzma Yehudit party, in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem on May 6, 2021. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

Lehava opposes intermarriage and assimilation of Jews and non-Jews, as well as LGBT rights, and tries to stifle any public activity by non-Jews in Israel, including coexistence events. Lawmakers across the political spectrum have tried to designate it as a terrorist group.

“Yesterday police managed to calm things in Acre, when the activists showed up in a bus and caused an uproar. The police don’t have the tools to deal with it.”

Ben Gvir responds to the report, saying that Shabtai should be fired, accusing the police of failing to use enough force to subdue Arab protests.

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