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Israel's Disastrous Cabinet Meeting Began with Distancing from Ben-Gvir & Smotrich

Prior to the screaming match on Israel’s full cabinet meeting last night, the day began with Israel’s Ynet publishing interviews with two ministers on the liability of the two most racist cabinet members, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich. It was in response to the U.S. State Department calling out the pair, and was part of an attempt to isolate the racists and end their push for a “resettlement” scheme—that is, an ethnic cleansing of Gaza.

First, Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar, from Netanyahu’s Likud party stated: “It’s clear that the international community won’t accept it.” Minister without portfolio Yifat Shasha-Biton also condemned the plan. They both indicated that it was unrealistic and detrimental to Israel’s international standing.

Ynet quoted Zohar: “It’s not realistic, and it’s clear that the international community will not accept it…. It’s clear that there is nobody in Israel who wouldn’t be happy if Gazans decided to emigrate voluntarily if they were happy to leave,” but this is not remotely realistic and a public discussion of the issue is unhelpful; further, “we see the repercussions, we see what happened with the Americans.”

Shasha-Biton—who entered Netanyahu’s coalition as part of Benny Gantz’s National Unity—told Ynet that Smotrich and Ben-Gvir were “causing damage, period, on any level at which it can be considered. I think that everyone who sits around the government table and around the cabinet table should remember that we have a heavy responsibility to the citizens of the State of Israel. If there is nothing wise to say or something useful—then it is better to simply not say it. I think that Smotrich and Ben-Gvir do not understand the magnitude of the responsibility that rests on their shoulders.”