Who is Amihai Eliyahu? Netanyahu suspends minister who suggested 'nuking Gaza'

The far-right minister also objected to sending humanitarian aid to Gaza

Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu | Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suspended Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu (also spelt as Amichai Eliyahu) from cabinet meetings indefinitely, Netanyahu's office said.

Eliyahu sparked outrage earlier on Sunday after he told Israel-based Radio Kol Berama that “nuking” Gaza is "one of the possibilities". He later clarified that it was “metaphorical” remark, according to The Times of Israel.

“Minister Amihai Eliyahu's statements are not based in reality. Israel and the IDF are operating in accordance with the highest standards of international law to avoid harming innocents. We will continue to do so until our victory,” wrote the Prime Minister of Israel's official X handle. Opposition leader Yair Lapid also condemned Eliyahu.

Who is Amihai Eliyahu?

Eliyahu belongs to Itamar Ben Gvir’s far-right party and is the grandson of Mordechai Eliyahu, the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel. He is not part of the war cabinet nor does he have a say in the war-time decision making, according to The Times of Israel. Eliyahu, who heads the Organization of Community Rabbis, a rabbinical group, served in the Paratroopers Brigade during his IDF service.

In another controversial statement, the far-right minister objected to sending humanitarian aid to Gaza. “We wouldn’t hand the Nazis humanitarian aid… there is no such thing as uninvolved civilians in Gaza,” the minister told Radio Kol Berama.

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