Unpacking the So-Called “Radical Extremists” Who Are Part of Netanyahu’s Cabinet

Itamar Ben-Gvir (Internal Security Minister) and Betzalel Smotrich (Finance Minister) are both members of Israel’s cabinet. Many however, consider these two men entirely unfit to hold positions in Israel’s government, and consider them to be a danger to Israel’s democracy. Why are they so controversial, what do they believe, and how does the controversy surrounding them point to an anti-semitic, anti-Israel, and anti-freedom of religion narrative? 

Bezalel Smotrich has been Vilified for Unapologetically Stating His Beliefs 

One lie that cannot be told about Bezalel Smotrich is that he does not make a public stand for what he believes in. Smotrich has been shouting publicly and unapologetically his opinions and beliefs for many years. Having a sense of pride for one’s beliefs is often considered to be admirable, but, per usual, if that pride is for a sovereign Israel or for a faith in the God of Abraham, it sometimes turns into animosity.

One controversy surrounding Smotrich revolves around Gaza. Just as what should be done with Gaza is a pressing issue right now, the same question caused significant upheaval in 2005. Many Israelis expressed dissatisfaction with the withdrawal from Gaza and the dissolvement of Israeli settlements in Gaza, such as Gush Katif, and Smotrich was among those standing against the disengagement. His actions, however, are what are in question. All reports can agree on the fact that Smotrich was held by the Shin Bet (Israel’s FBI) for three weeks and was then released with no charges; the details, however, appear to be distorted. 

The general consensus is that Smotrich was arrested for plans to hinder the disengagement from Gaza, but the means of doing so are far stretched and vary from article to article. Some say that he was found with 700 liters of fuel, and some say he was found with no fuel at all. The use of the alleged fuel was said to have been in a planned attempt to blow up vehicles on the road to Gaza in order to hinder traffic to and from that region. Others say that he had placed oil and nails on the highway connecting Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and some reports say that he had locked schools, damaged telecommunications, and vandalized government offices. The reality seems to be so distorted that it’s hard to even believe that he was held on any grounds other than suspicion, a presence at the protests, and, potentially, an affiliation with individuals who planned a more assertive response to the disengagement from Gaza. When asked about his prior arrest and the possession of 700 liters of fuel, this was Smotrich’s response:

There never was any connection to any 700 liters. Recycling lies over and over does not make them true… I am very proud of my role in the opposition to the expulsion [from Gaza] that was a democratic and completely legitimate struggle.” 

Again, Smotrich was never charged with any crimes. If people, especially Americans, truly believe that someone is innocent until proven guilty, then why has Smotrich been subjected to complete ostracism for something that he was never charged with? In any case, assumption appears to be the prosecutor and judge, whereas truth and reality cannot be found present in the courtroom.

Aside from this instance, anti-Israel antagonists have little to blemish Smotrich’s record with other than a few blunt statements that aggravate people on the left. In regards to his statements, Daniella Weiss, former mayor of Kedumim, said that him speaking the truth as he saw it was “more important than any diplomatic manipulation.” When did it become so unsuitable for a politician to vocalize what they believe as they believe it with no strings or questions attached? 

Subsequently, it appears as though any and all claims against Smotrich hold little water and instead of the media trying to bring attention to an actual hostile and crooked leader (like the former president of Iran or the Taliban-run Afghanistan), they have instead chosen to drag the name of another religious Zionist through the mud in a poor attempt to discredit the governing body of Israel.

Itamar Ben-Gvir is Considered the Most Radical of All

Itamar Ben-Gvir is a significantly more controversial figure. Even though Ben-Gvir did not start out as a hard-core conservative, going through the First Intifada at eleven years old changed him. This led him to be involved with and support some causes that cannot be condoned. However, he has since repented of many of his former actions.

Despite the historic downfalls of Ben-Gvir, the fact still stands that sometimes, radical opinions of men who are willing to take definitive stands are necessary to propel a governing body in the right direction. The direction necessary for the Israeli government right now is one that presses into a more religious, more independent, stronger, and a heightened willfulness towards laying claim to the entire land that is rightfully its own. In effect, this is exactly what Ben-Gvir has emboldened Israel to do. In this vein, Itamar Ben-Gvir is a strong addition to Netanyahu’s cabinet.

What About Bibi Netanyahu?

Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu was destined for politics from a young age, but that is to be expected from the son of a man named Benzion (son of Zion). His upbringing was spent partially in Jerusalem and partially in the United States, but when he returned to the land of Israel in 1967, he quickly enlisted in the IDF. Serving in an elite unit of the military, he served in various high stakes operations and, later, saw service in the Yom Kippur war. After gaining multiple academic credentials, he began his progression into international and Israeli politics, first serving as Israel’s Ambassador to the UN. As he climbed up the political ladder, he served his first term as Prime Minister in 1996. This term lasted until 1999, and then he was reelected as Prime Minister again in 2009. Aside from a few short periods of time when his integrity was in question (many of which were trivial claims), he has served in that position since then. 

The figure of Bibi Netanyahu is controversial for many people, but the most controversial thing about Netanyahu is that he truly isn’t controversial at all. Bibi’s mode of actions are designed to provide stability, even if that means slowing down development in the land of Israel. If the majority of the nation is not in favor of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, then he will not push or advocate for Israel’s sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. This is why people like Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir are so essential to a Netanyahu-led government.

Having cabinet members like Smotrich and Ben-Gvir are essential to the State of Israel during this time because they strongly advocate for a sovereign Israel for all of Israel. While claims against these men characterize them as “too radical” or “extreme”, these strong personalities are needed to move the Israeli government to a position that propels the land and people of Israel into fully committing to what is lawfully, rightfully, historically, and biblically their sovereign land.

As rumors and propaganda circulate, make sure that you dig through the fake news surrounding these controversial figures to find the truth. Their purpose is to depict religious Zionists as terrorists and term Zionism as oppressive. The truth, however, is entirely the opposite; Zionism is biblical, morally upstanding, and essential to the longevity of the only Jewish nation. The time has come to confront the adversity against Zionism and begin to proudly label yourself as a “Zionist”.

Peyton Chapman

Peyton Chapman is originally from Amarillo, TX. She works full-time for HaYovel and The Israel Guys as an article author, customer support representative, and in donor relations. Additionally, she serves in various operations on the ground in Israel as needed.

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  • Thank you for this political contestants analysis. I have not followed it all out of confusion, and now it is a little more clearer … than mud. Isn’t Saturday 6/8 when Gvir is suppose to leave if he doesn’t get
    something he wants?

  • Following the latest article written by the Israeli guys l reiterate what l have said before. The Gaza Strip and the so called West Bank need to be cleaned out of Israel wants to have security and peace in the future. I am sure the Israelis would not stop Arabs living in Israel in the future if they would like to live under Israeli law.

  • Well, don’t feel bad coz you’re not alone. Our own government thinks that all of us Christians and/or conservatives are also “radical extremists.”

  • Excellent article on the cabinet of Netanyahu government.
    MSM does not take time to go on-depth like this article.

  • I am a little disappointed about what you wrote about Itamar Ben Gvir. His crime was having posters of Baruch Goldstein and Rabbi Meir Kahane on his wall. I challenge anyone to this. Look up the interviews of Rabbi Kahane and listen to them, listen to him debate and speak. He wasn’t a racist!! He has been labeled as such and the left demonizes him just like they do Trump. If you have ever spoken in support of Kahane your assumed to be some sort of Jewish radical….What is radical about wanting a safe and secure Jewish state?!!

  • Interesting article and I have learned a little more about your government. Isreal must stay strong and do what’s right for your people. At least you have a leader who is strong, we have a pathetic incompetent man who just wants votes from people he does not care about. Stay strong and God bless.

    • Not only did Ben Gvir and Smotrich understand what would happen in Gaza when Israel withdrew, some of the Gazan Arabs also knew that the Islamists would take over and make their lives miserable. Some were even praying that Israel would return.

      Now, because of the Islamists, Israel has returned and because of the Islamists, much of Gaza had been destroyed.


  • I am a Christian Zionist. I believe the Bible that proclaims all the Land belongs to Israel. And not just what we see on a modern map. Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Syria are occupying Eretz Israel. I really believe Israel will rule ALL Eretz Yisrael soon. May God bless All Jews, Eretz Yisrael, the IDF and all people who love and support Israel.

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