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Ben-Gvir’s wife attends meeting of coalition wives while armed with handgun

‘Yes, I carry a gun. Deal with it,’ Ayala Ben-Gvir defends her decision to arrive at meeting armed

This article originally appeared on Haaretz, and was reprinted here with permission. Sign up here to get Haaretz’s free Daily Brief newsletter delivered to your inbox.

Far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir’s wife, Ayala, attended a meeting of potential coalition partners’ wives on Monday morning while armed with a handgun.

The wives had arrived for a gathering held by Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, at Jerusalem’s Waldorf Astoria hotel.

Ayala was photographed at the event next to Sara, with the weapon visible at her side.

The meeting was also attended by Arye Dery’s (Shas) wife Yaffa, Avi Maoz’s (Noam) wife Galit, and Yitzchak Goldknopf’s (United Torah Judaism) wife Rivka.

Ayala took to Twitter later in the day to defend her decision to attend the event while armed.

“I live in Hebron, I am a mother to six sweet children, and I travel through terror-infested roads,” she wrote.

“I am married to my husband who is the most threatened man in the country, and yes, I carry a gun. Deal with it.”

Her husband, Ben-Gvir, is vying for a public security minister appointment in the new government.

Also on Monday, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and Ben-Gvir greeted each other and shook hands, indicating that their public feud over the lawmaker’s incitement last year has ended.

The two met at a United Hatzalah emergency services memorial ceremony for police officer Noam Raz, a member of the special law enforcement anti-terrorism unit who was killed in May.

When Ben-Gvir arrived, Shabtai approached him, and the two shook hands and embraced. During the ceremony, they sat next to each other. A number of Likud lawmakers also attended the ceremony, including David Amsalem, Yariv Levin and David Bitan.

In his speech, Ben-Gvir said the ceremony carried an emotional message of saving lives. “We need to remember that saving lives is first of all medicine, it is forces, but it is also to give support to our fighters, so with the help of God, we will be able to do this,” he said.

The relationship between the pair has been historically rocky – the commissioner had privately described Ben-Gvir as someone who sets the ground on fire, and the Kahanist lawmaker had called Shabtai “a failed commissioner.”

In the days after the launch of Guardian of the Walls, Shabtai blamed Ben-Gvir for inciting violent clashes and referred to him as “the person responsible for this intifada.”

The Otzma Yehudit chairman had set up a makeshift parliamentary office in East Jerusalem’s disputed Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood – a move which inflamed the delicate situation there and set off a wave of violence in mixed cities.

Ben-Gvir then took advantage of the clashes in order to advance himself politically, positioning himself as a champion for the security of Jewish residents.

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