Gil Mildar
As the song says, a Latin American with no money in his pocket.

Ben-Gvir, the Minister of National (In)security

Last Monday, Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Minister of National  (In)security– a man whose self-criticism is as rare as a solar eclipse – starred in a scene that could only be described as tragicomic. After fleeing from the families of the hostages in Gaza, he dared to declare that it was time to “stop the populism.”

Ben-Gvir’s political theater, always laden with ultranationalism and promises of West Bank annexation and new settlements in Gaza, now offers us this pearl of irony. A man who rose from the rubble of fear, feeding on public distrust and promoting gun ownership as if it were the panacea for all ills, now wants to convince us that he has seen enough populism.

Outside, in the oppressive heat of indignation, Einav Zangauker spoke out. She, a mother whose pain has become a symbol of a cause, spoke with a voice choked with frustration. “When the families of the hostages came in to hear his statement to the press, he fled like a rat through the back door, and now he has gone into a place from which I am barred – why?” Zangauker asked, aiming at the place where a human being has a heart and not a Molotov cocktail. Her question hung in the air, a ghost of responsibility he refused to face.

Ben-Gvir’s rise was fueled by fear of crime, terror, and the other. But now, in the face of the natural and palpable terror of those who have lost their loved ones, he asks us to reject populism. It is a biting irony, a veiled nod to the hypocrisy that permeates his speech. He, who built his career by exploiting the population’s most primal fears, now wants to teach us about the dangers of populism. It’s like an arsonist trying to convince us that the firefighters are the real threat.

Ben-Gvir, alongside Bezalel Smotrich, his far-right companion, threatened to leave the government if Israel accepted the ceasefire and hostage release deal proposed by Joe Biden. “This is an irresponsible deal that represents a victory for terror and a threat to Israel’s security,” Ben-Gvir declared. But the families of the hostages know well where irresponsibility lies. For them, abandoning their loved ones to Hamas would be the actual defeat.

In stark contrast, a poll released on Sunday by the public broadcaster Kan revealed that 40 percent of Israelis support the deal proposed by Biden. Only 27 percent oppose it, and 33 percent are undecided. More crucially, 62 percent of Israelis believe that the release of the hostages should be a priority over new military actions.

The will of the people is clear: they want their loved ones back. However, for those in power, what matters is maintaining a populist narrative that ignores the cries of pain from the families. The real dilemma is not in Israel’s security but in the security of humanity itself, lost in empty speeches and broken promises.

Ben-Gvir, the herald of blind ultranationalism, prefers to bet on the perpetuation of conflict, the construction of more settlements, and the intensification of segregation. He, who refuses to look into the eyes of desperate mothers, embodies hypocrisy and contempt. His political theater is a distorted mirror of reality, where fear is a tool of control and humanity is disposable. In his world, security is a pretext for cruelty, and compassion is seen as weakness.

For Ben-Gvir and his allies, the pain of the hostages’ families is just an obstacle in their relentless pursuit of power. They prefer a divided Israel, where hatred and distrust reign, to a country that seeks peace and reconciliation. And so, the real tragedy is not just the hostages held in Gaza but the capture of an entire nation by extremist vampires who feed on Israel’s blood, suffering, and pain.

About the Author
As a Brazilian, Jewish, and humanist writer, I embody a rich cultural blend that influences my worldview and actions. Six years ago, I made the significant decision to move to Israel, a journey that not only connects me to my ancestral roots but also positions me as an active participant in an ongoing dialogue between the past, present, and future. My Latin American heritage and life in Israel have instilled a deep commitment to diversity, inclusion, and justice. Through my writing, I delve into themes of authoritarianism, memory, and resistance, aiming not just to reflect on history but to actively contribute to the shaping of a more just and equitable future. My work is an invitation for reflection and action, aspiring to advance human dignity above all.
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