Ben-Gvir to ‘Israel-hater’ supermodel Bella Hadid: Come here and see the threats we face

State Department also condemns Israeli National Security Minister for saying “My right to life comes before their right to movement.”

By World Israel News Staff

The Biden administration and an A-list supermodel condemned comments by Israel’s National Security Minister prioritizing the security of Israeli citizens over the right of Palestinian Arabs to travel unfettered.

On Wednesday, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir (Otzma Yehudit) said during an interview with Channel 12 that “My right, and my wife’s and my children’s rights, to get around on the roads in Judea and Samaria, is more important than the right to movement for Arabs.”

“That’s the reality. That’s the truth. My right to life comes before their right to movement.”

Ben-Gvir’s comments drew criticism from not only the Israeli Left, but also the Biden administration State Department, which accused Ben-Gvir of “inflammatory” rhetoric, and even international supermodel Bella Hadid.

A State Department spokesperson who spoke with The Times of Israel Thursday said the Biden White House “strongly condemn[s] Minister Ben-Gvir’s inflammatory comments on the freedom of movement of Palestinian residents of the West Bank.”

The State Department’s response Thursday marks the first time the U.S. has condemned Ben-Gvir by name.

“Such messages are particularly damaging when amplified by those in leadership positions and are incongruent with advancing respect for human rights for all.”

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“President Biden and Secretary Blinken have been clear that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to enjoy equal measures of freedom and security.”

Ben-Gvir defended his comments Thursday, tweeting that his left-wing critics were misrepresenting what he had said during Wednesday’s interview.

“This is how fake news is spread: I said yesterday on a TV broadcast that the right of Jews to live and not be murdered in terror attacks prevails over the right of Arabs in Judea and Samaria to travel on the roads without security restrictions. That is why checkpoints should be placed on roads where regular terrorism and shooting by Jihadists are committed against Jews.”

“But the Israeli radical Left selectively cut a section out of my statement, purposefully misquoted even that, and removed the context in order to slander me as if I had made a racist declaration that Jews deserve more civil rights than Arabs.”

“This is exactly how the Left continues to fan the flames of incitement in the world against the Israeli government.  Because of their cynical strategy, we are now witness to a surge of Israel haters attacking me and the State of Israel. The Left continues to cause harm to the State, just as they have hurt the economy, our social cohesion, and the IDF over the course of the last 8 months. Shame on them!”

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Later on Thursday, supermodel Bella Hadid, 26, took aim at Ben-Gvir on social media, sharing a clip of his comments with the caption: “At no place, at no time, especially in 2023 should one life be more valuable than another’s especially simply because of their ethnicity, culture, or pure hatred.”

The model also reposted a video by the far-left Israeli group B’Tselem, in which a Palestinian Arab man in Hebron is told not to use a street which, for security purposes, has been limited to use by Israelis.

“Does this remind anyone of anything?” Hadid wrote.

On Friday, Ben-Gvir penned a response on Facebook, slamming Hadid as an “Israel-hater,” and inviting her to visit his hometown of Kiryat Arba, adjacent to Hebron.

“To the Israel-hater Bella Hadid, good morning. I saw that yesterday you took an excerpt from an interview I gave and put it out to the whole world to try and portray me as a benighted racist.”

“I invite you to visit me in Kiryat Arba to see how we live here, how Jews who never did anything bad to anyone else their whole lives are murdered here every day, the threats my wife, children, and myself receive daily from the terrorists who live next door.”

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“So yes, the right of me and my fellow Jews to travel and return home safely on the roads of Judea and Samaria outweighs the rights of terrorists who throw stones at us and kill us.”

“I neither apologize nor recant, and I’ll say them another 1,000 times too.”