Dan Meridor
Dan MeridorYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Former Likud Minister Dan Meridor is very concerned by the rise of Otzma Yehudit chairman Itamar Ben-Gvir and the legitimacy given to Ben-Gvir by Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

"The day Ben-Gvir and his people are in the government Israel will turn into a different country. This may be the watershed. Think about it - the Likud I once knew is the party that pushed through a change in legislation and completely legitimized Kahanism," Meridor told 103 FM Radio.

According to him, [Former Prime Minister Yitzhak] "Shamir left the room whenever the racist Kahane spoke. From the moment Netanyahu's trial began, the reversal of this move began, legitimacy was given to a man who, until 2020, had a picture of the terrorist murderer [Baruch] Goldstein hanging in his house. There is no greater support for terrorism than this."

"When we were told at the UN, 'Zionism is racism', we were shocked because in my eyes Zionism is the most just national movement in the world, but this racist stain must not be part of it and that is exactly what is going to happen. The next government has one central basic line, without which there will be no government, and that is stopping Netanyahu's trial. If Ben-Gvir agrees to this, he will be in the government. I think it's really a shocking thing," he added.

According to Meridor, "There is a deep moral aspect here, beyond contemporary politics. Legitimizing what was considered illegitimate racism in Israel, and taking such a person, putting him in the center of the discourse, giving him legitimacy really brings him public support, and giving him such a central position in Israel will definitely make us a different country."

"I think the sad thing is that Netanyahu understands everything I just said, Netanyahu is not a racist. Netanyahu is neither a Kahanist nor a racist, but his first and foremost priority is to not allow the trial to be concluded, so that we don't know if he took a bribe or not, breached trust or not, He is afraid of this result and everything becomes legitimate to stop it. It is really a very serious matter," he concluded.