Security volunteer shouts at elderly man protesting Ben Gvir at Memorial Day ceremony in Ashdod

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

A volunteer providing security at a Memorial Day ceremony in Ashdod screams at an elderly protester objecting to the presence of far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir.

The armed volunteer, who is dressed in green fatigues and wearing a police cap, confronts the protester, who complains that the controversial cabinet member is a follower of the late ultranationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane.

“I’m a Kahanist,” the policeman yells at the protester, slapping himself on the chest.

A video of the incident filmed by the Times of Israel has been viewed more than 111,000 times, generating harsh criticism of the police.

“This filth will certainly be promoted, certainly not suspended,” tweets far-left Hadash-Ta’al MK Ofer Cassif. “And then they will say that the police are not a Nazi militia. The Israeli SS is already under construction.”

On the other side of the political spectrum, Yisrael Beytenu MK Evgeny Sova — whose party recently attempted to impeach Cassif — tells The Times of Israel that “it is especially sad and worrying when someone dressed in the policeman’s uniform with a cap identifying him as a policeman prides himself on belonging to a racist and messianic ideology.”

Ben Gvir is a follower of the late rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the now- banned Kach party, which advocated for the expulsion of Palestinians and Arab-Israelis.

Ben Gvir has previously been convicted for incitement to violence and supporting a terror group for distributing stickers that read “Expel the Arab enemy” and “Kahane was right.” He was not accepted for compulsory service in the IDF because of far-right activism in his youth.

Until several years ago, he hung a photograph of Jewish mass murderer Baruch Goldstein, perpetrator of a 1994 massacre of 29 Muslim worshipers at Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs, on the wall of his home.

Asked for comment. the Israel Police release the following statement:

“During [today’s] Memorial Day events, the police acted with great sensitivity in the face of every attempt at provocations and deliberate disturbances. This is due to the great importance of the events to the bereaved families and to the citizens of Israel in general across the country and in Ashdod in particular.”

“The event is not shown in its entirety and the video shows a part of it, in that the citizen tried several times to provoke the police including the volunteer member of the standby squad… On a day charged with emotions everyone is expected to behave with tolerance. This case will be examined and lessons will be drawn accordingly.”

A spokesman for Ben Gvir did not respond to a request for comment.

Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.

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