New deputy defense minister called Palestinians ‘animals’

Jewish Home MK Eli Ben Dahan to oversee the authorization of travel and entry permits for Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

As part of the coalition agreement reached between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Jewish Home party on Thursday, MK Eli Ben Dahan, a rabbi who’s made controversial statements about Palestinians and non-Jews, will serve as Israel’s next deputy defense minister.

Under the new job description, Ben Dahan, who served as the deputy religious affairs minister in the previous government, will also be responsible for the IDF’s Civil Administration running government affairs in the West Bank.

Ben Dahan has made controversial remarks about Palestinians. While discussing the resumption of peace talks in a radio interview in 2013, Ben Dahan said that “To me, they are like animals, they aren’t human.”

“The Palestinians aren’t educated towards peace, nor to they want it,” he said.

The Civil Administration is an IDF unit subordinate to the Defense Ministry responsible for governing West Bank planning, building and infrastructure in Israeli-controlled Area C. In addition, it is responsible for authorizing Palestinian travel and entry permits into Israel from Gaza and the West Bank.

Later that year, while discussing his opposition to Knesset legislation that would offer same-sex parents the same tax breaks as their heterosexual counterparts, Ben Dahan told Maariv that homosexual Jews were superior than gentiles — gay or straight.

“A Jew always has a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual,” he said.

Ben Dahan said that his opposition to the bill was not based on discrimination, but stemmed from his commitment to uphold the Jewish character of Israel.

“I have to keep the state Jewish. Things that contradict the values, culture or tradition will not receive a stamp of approval,” he said.

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