Ultranationalist MK Tzvi Succot appointed head of Knesset West Bank subcommittee

Opposition lawmakers warn settlement activist will inflame tensions in the West Bank amid a wave of settler violence against Palestinians

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

Religious Zionist MK Zvi Succot attends a party meeting at the Knesset, January 23, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Religious Zionist MK Zvi Succot attends a party meeting at the Knesset, January 23, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ultranationalist MK and radical settlement activist Tzvi Succot was appointed Wednesday to serve as the chairman of the Knesset Subcommittee for Judea and Samaria, aka the West Bank, under the permanent Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

The appointment was condemned by numerous opposition MKs, as well as anti-settlement groups, who pointed out that Succot has a long history of radicalism in the settlement movement and that settler violence in the West Bank has spiked dramatically since the October 7 Hamas assault on Israel in which over 1,400 people were massacred, most of them civilians.

Knesset committees and subcommittees are tasked with reviewing and overseeing the government’s activities in the fields under their jurisdiction.

The Subcommittee for Judea and Samaria generally deals with security issues in the territory as well as how the army functions in relation to Palestinian security threats and the IDF’s treatment of settlers.

“I am taking upon myself the position of chairman of the Subcommittee for Judea and Samaria to take care of the personal safety of the residents of Judea and Samaria, and to develop the settlements as much as possible,” said Succot following the appointment.

Succot’s extremist activities have not stopped since he became an MK.

Tzvi Sukkot, 20 at the time, sits at the Petah Tikvah Magistrate’s Court, on January 24, 2010. He was one of four suspects in the arson of a mosque in the Palestinian village of Yasuf in December 2009. (Marko / FLASH90)

On the night of October 5, Succot and a group of extremist settlers set up a sukkah, a temporary dwelling used during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, in the Palestinian town of Huwarra after a Palestinian terrorist shot at Israelis driving through the town.

The settlers and local Palestinians clashed that evening, and one Palestinian was killed in subsequent confrontations, although it was unclear whether he was killed by IDF soldiers or an armed settler.

Dozens of Palestinians were injured as a result of the confrontation.

Before becoming an MK, Succot was a prominent radical settler activist, and was arrested at least three times for his actions during demonstrations outside the home of the head of IDF’s Central Command.

Succot, who is an MK for the ultra-nationalist Religious Zionist party, was also arrested in 2010 by the police due to Shin Bet suspicions that he was involved in the arson of a mosque in the northern West Bank, close to where he lived in the Yitzhar settlement. He was not charged over the incident, however.

Succot was not drafted into the IDF after he said in his interview with the recruitment office that he had no trust in the military due to its participation in the evacuation of settlers from the Gaza and northern West Bank settlements during the 2005 disengagement plan.

The IDF declared him “unsuitable” for military service.

Opposition MKs condemned Succot’s appointment, with Labor leader MK Merav Michaeli calling him “one of the most dangerous people in Israel, a racist, pyromaniac, terror supporter, Shin Bet target.”

Michaeli wrote on X (formerly Twitter), “This is basically a decision to accelerate the explosion in Judea and Samaria, which all the heads of the security establishment are warning would open another front and damage the war against Hamas.”

The Peace Now organization, which opposes Israeli rule in the West Bank, said Succot was “a dangerous hilltop youth who shirked military service,” and said he “represents those who who abandoned security on the Gaza border for the benefit of the illegal West Bank outposts.”

In response to Michaeli, Succot posted on X, “The enemy doesn’t distinguish for a moment between my voters and her voters. On the battlefield, my voters and her voters are fighting in the same armored personnel carrier… Politicians who want to publicize lies about me? They can argue among themselves, I don’t want to respond or to fight.”

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