In Brief: Labor’s Michaeli points to link between far right and recent violence

Merav Michaeli > Ron Kedmi, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Israel’s outgoing transportation minister and leader of the Israeli Labor party, Merav Michaeli, on Monday set out her view that recent violence in Israel was directly linked to violence in the West Bank and the political rise of the far right.

“A straight line connects the violence against Arabs and against human rights activists in Hebron – and the violence that Israeli citizens suffer in the streets”, Michaeli told a faction meeting.

“When the country is taken over and is in the hands of extremists who say ‘We’re the bosses here’ […] it means that anyone who is not ‘like us’, anyone who is not ‘us’ can be beaten up, can be hit, should be expelled”, she continued.

Michaeli was referring to extremist Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir, who campaigned on the slogan “We are the bosses” in Israel, referring to Israel’s Jews as opposed to its sizeable Arab minority.

The Labor leader went on to criticise other far-right allies likely to form a coalition with Benjamin Netanyahu, including Avi Moaz, leader of the homophobic Noam faction, which she said was “entirely based on hatred and exclusion, hatred of gays and lesbians, hatred of Arabs, exclusion of women”.

She called for a “liberal vision” that would defend “equality of rights for women, for Arab citizens, for immigrants according to the Law of Return” in the face of far-right attacks.