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Israel approves funds for Ben-Gvir’s National Guard

The Israeli government on Sunday approved a 1.5% cut in ministries’ budgets to fund the National Guard, an armed force under far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

A cabinet session held Sunday witnessed a verbal exchange between Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel and Ben-Gvir, according to The Jerusalem Post newspaper.

“You want everything fast and it comes at our expense,” Gamliel of the right-wing Likud Party told Ben-Gvir.

Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Yair Lapid strongly criticized the government’s decision.

“The government approved horizontal cuts to fund Ben-Gvir’s private militia,” Lapid said in a tweet.

“They will cut health, education, security, all to finance a private army of thugs for the TikTok clown and the pitas,” he said, referring to Ben-Gvir.

“The priorities of this government are ridiculous and despicable. The only thing that keeps her busy is running over democracy and promoting extreme fantasies of delusional people,” he added.

According to The Jerusalem Post, several ministers in the Cabinet expressed opposition to the 1.5% cut in the budgets of all ministries, which would hand Ben-Gvir’s ministry around NIS 1 billion ($278 million).

On Monday, Netanyahu gave the National Guard to Ben-Gvir in exchange for his support for a decision to temporarily suspend plans for judicial overhaul, which triggered mass protests in Israel over the past three months.

*Ikram Kouachi in Ankara contributed to this report

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