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6 Feb, 2024 15:58

Israeli minister apologizes for son’s dementia comment about Biden

National Security chief Itamar Ben Gvir’s son implied on social media that the US president was suffering from a brain disease
Israeli minister apologizes for son’s dementia comment about Biden

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who called for the resettlement of Gaza, has apologized after his son implied in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that US President Joe Biden was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Shuvael Ben Gvir had posted a photo of Biden alongside the text, “In these difficult times it is important to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s, a degenerative brain disease that is the most common cause of cognitive decline and dementia,” adding that this was “a serious disease that affects a person’s functions and ability.”

The elder Ben Gvir condemned his son’s post on Tuesday as a “serious mistake with a tweet I deeply disapprove of.”

“The United States of America is our great friend and President Biden is a friend of Israel,” the national security adviser wrote. “Even if I have a disagreement with his conduct, there is no room, God forbid, for a disparaging style.”

Following his father’s public apology, the younger Ben Gvir tweeted another photo of Biden, accompanied by the text, “Mr President, sorry!” The original tweet was reportedly deleted.

Minister Ben Gvir, branded by the New Yorker as 'Israel's minister of chaos' has previously been critical of the US president over his less than wholesome support for West Jerusalem's military campaign in Gaza. The bombardment has killed more than 27,000 Palestinians, according to the enclave’s health ministry, and has been condemned by many countries as genocide against the Palestinian people.

The politician has argued that Israel would be better off under former President Donald Trump, claiming that the Biden administration’s policy of providing “humanitarian aid and fuel” has benefited Hamas.

“If Trump was in power, the US conduct would be completely different,” Ben Gvir told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

He also reiterated his call – officially condemned by the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – for Gaza’s remaining residents to “voluntarily emigrate,” suggesting cash incentives to sweeten the deal so that Israeli settlers could return to the enclave.

Over 85% of Palestinians living in Gaza have been displaced by Israeli bombing since the war began on October 7. The Israeli retaliation strikes followed an incursion by Hamas, which left around 1,200 Israelis dead and more than 200 taken hostage. 

Ben Gvir’s comments flew in the face of public gratitude to the US from Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who had recently praised the Biden administration and Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin “for their commitment to Israel’s security.” 

His colleagues in Netanyahu’s government, including war cabinet minister Benny Gantz, slammed the national security chief’s comments for jeopardizing international support for “the current war effort,” arguing his hardline stance made it difficult to present Israel’s case for continuing the devastating conflict to its allies.

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