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Israel's National Security Minister Threatens Netanyahu: Attack Rafah, or I Bring Down Government

Itamar Ben-Gvir from his Facebook page.

April 9, 2024 (EIRNS)—Israeli National Security Minister, and resident “blood and soil” ideologue, Itamar Ben-Gvir yesterday threatened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would bring down Netanyahu’s government, if he failed to escalate into a major military assault on Rafah, where over a million Palestinian refugees are gathered as their last refuge. His post read that, if Netanyahu “ends Israel’s war against Hamas without an extensive attack on Hamas in Rafah,” he will “cease to have a mandate to serve as prime minister.”

Ben-Gvir’s “Jewish Power” party, along with the “Religious Zionist” party of his cohort, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, hold 14 seats in the Knesset, putting Netanyahu’s coalition at 64 of the 120 seats—3 above the minimum needed. Smotrich convened a meeting of his Religious Zionist leaders, concerned over the reports that “a general deal to end the war without defeating Hamas” was in the works. He then stated in a letter to Netanyahu that he wasn’t “authorized to make decisive decisions during wartime” at the level of the “War Cabinet.” That group was submitting to “international pressures that harm the war’s momentum and our security interests.” That body has ignored Smotrich’s “warning for many weeks” that Israel must step on “the gas pedal” militarily. Hence, he demanded that Netanyahu convene the full cabinet, which includes Ben-Gvir and himself.

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