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The Editors

Hard-Liners Are Hurting Israel’s Security

The actions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right ministers may jeopardize efforts to build a regional coalition to contain Iran. 

Ben-Gvir is playing with fire. 

Ben-Gvir is playing with fire. 

Photographer: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

Embarking on his sixth term in office, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear his determination to confront the threat posed by Iran, in part by deepening ties with Israel’s Arab neighbors. A strong and united regional coalition against Iran would benefit Israel’s security. Unfortunately, the actions of Netanyahu’s own government are making that goal harder to achieve.         

Netanyahu’s governing coalition depends on backing from several pugnacious far-right figures. The prime minister has reportedly assured US officials that he will keep the hard-liners in check, so far with little evident success. Shortly after the new government assumed office, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir paid a highly publicized visit to the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary — causing an uproar among Arab governments, who accuse Israel of attempting to change the long-standing status quo at the site, where only Muslims are allowed to pray.