According to a far-right activist turned journalist, the far-right minister used to pay children to destroy Palestinians’ property.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Israeli minister of national security, allegedly paid other minors to vandalize Palestinian property more than 20 years ago while he was still a teenager and accompanied him on a raid on a UN base, according to a former confidant.
Gilad Sade claimed in an interview with the New Yorker that Ben-Gvir had driven him to a UN base in occupied East Jerusalem in 2001, given him a wire cutter, and shown him where to breach the fence.
In reference to Meir Kahane, an Israeli Jewish supremacist rabbi who instigated deadly attacks against Palestinians, Sade sprayed slogans like “UN Out” and “Kahane Was Right” on the tires of every car inside the compound while Ben-Gvir waited in the car outside.
After rejecting Ben-Gvir’s far-right ideology, Sade, who was 14 years old at the time, now works as a reporter and lives in Europe. According to the New Yorker, a Ben-Gvir assistant claimed that Sade fabricated the story out of personal animosity.
The magazine spoke with Dvir Kariv, a former Shin Bet official who could not confirm the UN break-in but said it was typical of Ben-Gvir. He said that Kahane supporters frequently sent teenagers to “do the dirty work” because questioning them was more difficult for law enforcement officers to do legally.
Sade, who at the time referred to Ben-Gvir as “an older brother,” claims that the national security minister once paid teenagers up to $60 per night to spray paint and vandalize Palestinian property in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. The allegations were refuted by Ben-Gvir’s staff.
Ben-Gvir, a student and disciple of Kahane, was involved in the hardline movement of the late rabbi in the 1990s and early 2000s. After Kahane was elected to parliament in 1984, he publicly advocated for the mass expulsion of Palestinians and founded the Kach party. In 1990, he was killed in New York.
Ben-Gvir joined Kach as an activist when he was 16 years old. In 1994, a Kach member killed 29 Palestinian worshippers and injured dozens in the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron, and the US declared Kach a terrorist organization and banned it in Israel. Ben-Gvir, now 46 years old, was found guilty of eight charges, including supporting Kach and encouraging racism.
He attended a memorial for Kahane last year and stated that he believed the man was all about “love.” He stated, “I think the main characteristic of Rabbi Kahane was love.” “Love of Israel without compromising or considering anything else.” However, he stated that he did not support the deportation of all Palestinian Israeli citizens and did not endorse Kahane’s racist and anti-Arab views.