UAE issues Ben Gvir Invitation for Tel Aviv Reception

A controversial far-right political figure, Itamar Ben Gvir, the chief of the Otzma Yehudit party, received an invitation to attend the United Arab Emirates National Day reception in Tel Aviv on Thursday evening.

According to a spokesperson from his office, it was likely that the incoming national security minister in the next government would attend the event.

But, they also added that his schedule will also determine his decision.

The event

Mohamed Al Khaja, the UAE ambassador, is hosting the formal event at the grand ballroom at Hilton. On Friday, a deal was reportedly signed by Ben Gvir for joining the new government.

The presumed prime minister is Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud party and the deal would put Ben Gvir in charge of the National Security Ministry.

This is a new ministry that will include overseeing the Israeli settlers located in the West Bank and the police.

Meir Kahane, the late extremist rabbi, is an inspiration for Ben Gvir. The former is known for having a picture on the wall for the perpetrator behind the Tomb of the Patriarchs Massacre in 1994.

Similar to his inspiration, terror charges have also been brought against Ben Gvir, but he claims to have changed his stance in recent years.

He says that he no longer carries the same beliefs as Kahane, who had founded the Kach party, which had been banned.

The warning

In 2007, Ben Gvir had attended a protest where he held a sign that talked about expelling the Arab enemy, which resulted in his conviction for inciting racism.

Abdullah Bin Zayed, the UAE Foreign Minister, had given a warning before the elections in Israel to Benjamin Netanyahu about adding Ben Gvir in his government.

He had also warned against Bezalel Smotrich, who had been Ben Gvir’s political partner, in the elections.

According to officials, the message from the Foreign Minister had been issued in September when he had come to Israel for a visit.

Bin Zayed stated that the addition of an extremist lawmaker like Ben Gvir in the new government could upend the ties between the two countries and even have a broad impact on the Abraham Accords.

The Likud leader had made a merger deal before the elections to improve his chances of winning, which had been aimed at allowing the extremist Otzma Yehudit party of Ben Gvir into the Knesset.

The ties

The ties between the UAE and Israel were normalized back in 2020 under the previous government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

It had been part of the Abraham Accords that were brokered by the US government and had also helped Israel in establishing diplomatic ties with Bahrain.

Months later, the agreement also resulted in establishing ties with Morocco. Since the Abraham Accords were signed, the relationship between UAE and Israel has seemed to flourish.

Thousands of people have visited the Gulf state and the countries have also exchanged security and diplomatic support.

Trade between the two countries this year is expected to reach $2 billion, higher than last year’s $1.2 billion.

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