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‘Traitor’: Benny Begin, son of 1st Likud PM, verbally harassed by Netanyahu backers

New Hope MK accosted in Beit Shemesh for breaking with the Likud party, which Menachem Begin founded; activist calls him ‘a crazy old man who is betraying his father’s legacy’

New Hope MK Benny Begin leads a Knesset committee meeting on December 19, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)
New Hope MK Benny Begin leads a Knesset committee meeting on December 19, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)

New Hope MK Benny Begin was accosted Monday by supporters of opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party for breaking with the right-wing party founded by Begin’s father.

Begin, the son of former prime minister Menachem Begin, previously served as a Likud lawmaker and was considered a close ally of Netanyahu before announcing in 2019 that he would no longer back the party, citing its inflammatory rhetoric and the then-premier’s legal woes. Earlier this year, he joined New Hope, which is largely composed of former Likud members who have fallen out with Netanyahu.

As Begin left a New Hope faction meeting in Beit Shemesh, he was approached by several Likud supporters who called him a “traitor.”

“You’re a crazy old man who is betraying his father’s legacy. Your father is ashamed… Your father is rolling over in his grave,” an activist said.

“Look what you did to your father, he is ashamed of you,” said another.

One of the activists was identified as Rami Ben-Yehuda, a vocal Netanyahu supporter, who earlier this year had a temporary restraining order issued against him for verbally harassing the wife and children of Minister Ze’ev Elkin, another former Likud lawmaker and current New Hope member.

Rami Ben-Yehuda accosts New Hope MK Benny Begin in Beit Shemesh, on December 27, 2021. (Screen capture: Twitter)

“The troupe of disturbed and fiery Bibi loyalists who set upon MK Benny Begin is the farthest thing imaginable from Begin’s legacy,” Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar, who heads New Hope, wrote on Twitter, using Netanyahu’s nickname. “We’ll safeguard the values on which we were raised and the country from the inciter and his emissaries.”

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid denounced the activists who confronted Begin as “a disgrace to the State of Israel.”

“Every day that the opposition leader doesn’t condemn their actions, he gives backing to their conduct,” Lapid tweeted.

Then-prime minister Menachem Begin, as he appeared on the ABC program ‘Good Morning America,’ on November 16, 1980 (AP Photo, File)

Several Likud lawmakers also denounced the incident.

“Despite the fierce disagreements between us, the hideous attack against Benny Begin… won’t return us to the leadership of the country. This isn’t the way,” said Likud MK Miki Zohar.

Fellow Likud MK Yoav Kisch called the activists’ behavior toward Begin “unacceptable” and said that while there was no violence, their actions “produced a dangerous atmosphere.”

“The frustration over the conduct MK Benny Begin, who chose the wrong path and supports a dangerous left-wing government, is shared by all members of the national camp but does not justify behavior like this,” Kisch wrote on Twitter.

There was no response from Netanyahu to Monday’s incident, which came during a months-long Likud campaign against the government that replaced him.

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