The Israeli far-right national security minister has engaged in a heated exchange with supermodel Bella Hadid after she criticized his recent televised remarks concerning Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
In an interview with Israel’s Channel 12, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir ignited a firestorm by asserting that his right to freedom of movement as a Jewish settler should take precedence over the same right for Palestinians.
Ben-Gvir’s statements, made in the aftermath of two deadly Palestinian attacks on Israelis in the occupied territory, sparked widespread outrage and accusations of perpetuating an apartheid-like system.
His assertion that “the right to life comes before freedom of movement” was heavily scrutinized, with critics interpreting it as an indication of Israel’s alleged efforts to maintain Jewish dominance across the region.
During the interview, Ben-Gvir directed his remarks toward Israeli-Arab television host Mohammad Magadli, reinforcing the sentiment that the situation was an unfortunate reality. The phrase “Sorry, Mohammad,” uttered by Ben-Gvir, swiftly became a viral catchphrase on social media, coupled with videos highlighting instances of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The controversial statements prompted protests outside Ben-Gvir’s residence in a West Bank settlement, condemning his views and demanding accountability. Critics and commentators voiced concerns about the implications of such statements on Israel’s international reputation and human rights commitments.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, came to Ben-Gvir’s defense, asserting that Israel allowed considerable freedom of movement in the West Bank. Netanyahu justified the stance by pointing to Palestinian militants who exploit this freedom to target Israeli civilians, asserting that this context informed Ben-Gvir’s assertion that the “right to life precedes freedom of movement.”
The clash between Ben-Gvir and Bella Hadid highlights the broader debate over Israel’s policies in the occupied territories and the impact of inflammatory rhetoric on the ongoing conflict and global perceptions.