Supermodel Bella Hadid and Israel’s National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, have engaged in a heated exchange of words following Ben-Gvir’s contentious comments concerning Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. This verbal confrontation has reignited discussions on Palestinian rights and Israeli politics, drawing widespread attention.
The controversy began when National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, during an interview with Israel’s Channel 12, asserted that his right to freedom of movement as a Jewish settler in the West Bank should take precedence over the same right for Palestinians. Ben-Gvir argued, “My right, the right of my wife and my children, to move around Judea and Samaria is more important than freedom of movement for the Arabs… The right to life comes before freedom of movement.”
Speaking directly to Israeli-Arab television host Mohammad Magadli, who was present during the interview, Ben-Gvir added, “Sorry, Mohammad. But that’s the reality.”
Bella Hadid’s Response
Bella Hadid, a supermodel and influential social media figure with over 59.5 million followers on Instagram, shared a segment of Ben-Gvir’s interview on her platform. Expressing her dismay, she wrote, “In no place, no time, especially in 2023 should one life be more valuable than another’s. Especially simply because of their ethnicity, culture or pure hatred.”
In addition to her post, Hadid shared a video from B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, depicting Israeli soldiers in Hebron informing a Palestinian resident that certain streets were exclusively reserved for Jews. Her caption accompanying the video read, “Does this remind anyone of anything?”
Minister Ben-Gvir responded vehemently to Bella Hadid’s Instagram post. He took to the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) and invited Hadid to visit Kiryat Arba, the settlement where he resides, to gain firsthand insight into the daily lives of Jews living there and the challenges they face. He emphasized that many of these individuals have committed no wrongdoing and yet face threats.
Kiryat Arba is located near Hebron, one of the largest Palestinian cities.
Widespread Criticism and Allegations
Ben-Gvir’s televised statement has garnered widespread criticism. Many commentators have seized upon it as evidence supporting allegations that Israel is moving toward an apartheid system, with the aim of preserving Jewish dominance across the region, spanning from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
In response to Ben-Gvir’s remarks, protesters congregated outside his residence in a West Bank settlement, vehemently condemning his statements. The phrase “Sorry, Mohammad” gained popularity on various social media platforms, with critics using it alongside videos that depict instances of Israeli violence against Palestinians.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu subsequently issued a statement defending Minister Ben-Gvir’s comments. He argued that Israel allows “maximum freedom of movement” in the West Bank but highlighted that Palestinian militants often exploit this freedom to target Israeli civilians, leading to tragic consequences.
This exchange between Bella Hadid and the Israeli National Security Minister has reignited debates surrounding the intricate dynamics of Palestinian-Israeli relations, human rights, and political rhetoric in the region.