Ben-Gvir: provocative visit to Temple Mount

Israel's new ultra-nationalist and far-right Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has provoked criticism with a visit to Jerusalem's Temple Mount. The Mount, with the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the top and the Wailing Wall at the bottom, is the main holy site in Jerusalem for both Jews and Muslims and a highly sensitive issue in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Visits are strictly regulated and this is the first time an Israeli minister has been to the site in five years.

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Der Standard (AT) /

Cheap and dangerous political showmanship

Ben-Gvir is stirring up new violence, Der Standard criticises:

“For some people, politics is above all show business. They provoke a scandal, exploit outrage and warm themselves in the limelight. Israel's new right-wing extremist National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir is one such man. ... As if millions of people were not affected by the consequences of his incendiary visit. When Ben-Gvir made his brief appearance on the Temple Mount, dozens of police protected him. The bus drivers, restaurant patrons and other civilians who expose themselves to risks on a daily basis in these times of heightened terrorist danger do not enjoy this protection. ... But for the sake of 15 minutes of fame in front of the cameras, this right-wing extremist showman apparently has no problem with that.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Loyal to his agenda

National security minister Ben-Gvir is continuing where he left off as a far-right provocateur, notes Peter Münch, Israel correspondent for the Süddeutsche Zeitung:

“In no time at all, he has also given the lie to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, in view of his alliance with the far right and racists, had always proclaimed that he would keep them under control. Ben-Gvir is now proving the opposite. He is pursuing his agenda, pushing Netanyahu to do this too - and at worst, driving the whole country and the region towards the edge of the abyss.”

Politiken (DK) /

EU must put pressure on Israel

Among other things, the right-wing extremists in the Israeli government want to impose a settlement policy that runs counter to international agreements, Politiken warns, calling on the EU to act:

“Europe must demand and insist that Israel, which likes to boast that it is the only democracy in the Middle East, abides by international laws. And make it clear that we in the EU will impose sanctions not only on the occupied territories but also on the state of Israel itself if the government actually implements its extreme programme. This is the very last warning cry.”