The controversial security minister , Itamar Ben-Gvir, was a beacon of hope for positive change in Israel for many right-wing voters. He has now been in office for more than a year, but apparently, he has not achieved much. He also seems to have become aware of this, because his visit to a police training camp, in uniform, can only be interpreted as a marketing event.
After pictures of Ben-Gvir’s visit were released, a spate of jokes about the “great general” began on Israeli social media. Here is one sample:
“Did Ben-Gvir dodge army service?”
A common mocking of Ben-Gvir on social media stems from the fact that he is now in charge of defense forces, but did not himself even serve in the army. The “Brothers in Arms” association of Israeli soldiers even claimed that he shied away from this service; Ben-Gvir sued them.
At the time, Ben-Gvir’s lawyer explained why the security minister did not serve in the army:
“When my client showed up for an interview at the recruitment office, he was asked about his political views. Eventually it was decided not to recruit him, and although my client went on a hunger strike in front of the recruitment office and his mother – an officer in the IDF – contacted the then Chief of Staff, they received no response,” the lawyer wrote. “I don’t know of anyone else who was willing to go through that kind of effort to sign up. Can such a person be called a ‘slacker’?!”
Ben-Gvir’s connections to Rabbi Kahane
At the age of 16, Ben-Gvir began collaborating with Meir Kahane’s far-right Kach Party, serving as its youth coordinator. Ben-Gvir claims his disqualification from military service was due to his association with this party.
The Kach Party was banned as a terrorist organization in 1994 after Baruch Goldstein, a supporter of the movement, murdered 20 Palestinians at Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs, and was dubbed a “hero” by some Kach Party members. Ben-Gvir turned 18 that year, the age of enlistment.
So, not all jokes about Ben-Gvir are justified. However, jokes don’t have to be entirely accurate, and a short, chubby security minister, perhaps wearing a uniform for the first time, certainly provides great material for a laugh or two.
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