United Arab Emirates warns Netanyahu against including Ben-Gvir in gov’t – report

UAE’s foreign minister met with Netanyahu during recent visit to Israel, warning the opposition leader against including elements of the Israeli far-right in a new government, according to new report.

By World Israel News Staff

Senior officials in the United Arab Emirates have expressed concern regarding the possibility that Israeli Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu may form a new government that includes Otzma Yehudit party chairman MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, Axios reported Wednesday afternoon.

According to the report, Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed met with Netanyahu for more than two hours in a closed-door meeting last month.

Sheikh Zayed arrived in Israel on September 14 to mark the two-year anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords. 

Along with meetings with Israeli government officials, Sheikh Zayed sat down with Netanyahu to discuss relations between the two countries.

One topic which Sheikh Zayed reportedly raised was the issue of Otzma Yehudit party and the possibility that Netanyahu may include the party in a new government after the November 1st election.

While Sheikh Zayed did not mention Otzma Yehudit or Itamar Ben-Gvir by name, he raised concerns in the UAE government that elements of the Israeli far-right could be included in a new coalition.

One official cited by Axios said Sheikh Zayed was referring to MK Ben-Gvir.

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Netanyahu reportedly declined to respond when the Emirati minister raised the issue. Netanyahu’s office also declined to respond to Wednesday’s report.

The Axios report comes a day after Netanyahu vowed to resist pressure from the United States not to appoint Ben-Gvir as a minister in a future government.

According to Axios, quoting sources, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) told Netanyahu he has “serious concerns” over a possible partnership with “extremist and polarizing individuals like Ben-Gvir.” Menendez did not back down from the issue even after Netanyahu expressed irritation regarding the senator’s advice.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu chided Menendez over his comments, defending Ben-Gvir while criticizing the current government’s inclusion of the United Arab List (Ra’am), despite the party’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

“I said to Menendez: Are you talking to me about [Ben-Gvir] who believes in the State of Israel and supports IDF soldiers? I haven’t heard a word about [Defense Minister Benny] Gantz and [Prime Minister Yair] Lapid partnering with [Ra’am leader] Mansour Abbas and the Muslim Brotherhood, who deny Israel as a Jewish state and go to the mourning tents of murderers of Jews.”