Michael Ben-Ari

Michael Ben-Ari
Date of birth 12 October 1963 (1963-10-12) (age 48)
Place of birth
Knessets 18
Party National Union

Michael Ben-Ari (Hebrew: מיכאל בן ארי‎, born 12 October 1963) is an Israeli politician, and a current member of the Knesset (MK) for the National Union party. He is the first outspoken disciple of Rabbi Meir Kahane to be elected to the Knesset.[1] He has a Ph.D in Land of Israel studies.[2]



Ben-Ari grew up in the Kfar Shalem neighbourhood in south Tel Aviv, born to Mizrahi Jewish parents from Iran and Afghanistan. He studied at the Bnei Akiva yeshiva at Kfar Haroeh, at the hesder yeshiva in Yamit, and at the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva. As part of his hesder army service, he was with the Nahal settlement at Neve Dekalim from 1982 to 1986.[3][4] He studied education at Bar-Ilan University, gaining a BA, before studying the Talmud for a Master's degree, and the Land of Israel for a PhD. He was a rabbi teacher at the Darchei No'am Yeshiva in Petach Tikva as well as the Bnei Akiva Yeshiva in Giv'at Shmuel.[5]

Ben-Ari lives in the Israeli settlement of Karnei Shomron. His brother, Herzl Ben-Ari, is the head of the Karnei Shomron Local Council.

Political career

Previously a member of the banned Kach party, Ben-Ari still views himself as Meir Kahane's follower.[6][7] He ran with the Herut - The National Movement party in the 2003 elections,[8] and for the 2006 elections, he ran with the Jewish National Front party,[9] but both times failed to be elected since the parties did not pass the threshold. Leading up to the 2009 elections, the Jewish National Front joined a new party called Eretz Yisrael Shelanu. That new alliance then joined the National Union, and Ben-Ari was placed fourth on the combined list for the elections. He entered the Knesset as the party won four seats. Once elected, he appointed Hebron residents and Kahanists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir as his aides in the Knesset.

In 2009, in an open letter to Israeli leaders and politicians, Ben-Ari stated that Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Israel would be an insult to the memory of Holocaust victims.[10][11]

Opposite of his teacher Rabbi Meir Kahane who was marginalized and isolated as a member of Knesset, Ben Ari has succeeded in making a positive entry into Israel's political arena. He interacts and is respected by his peers and has enjoyed wide cooperation on some of his parliamentary efforts.[12]

Ben-Ari's November 2009 United States visa application was denied on the grounds of his arrest during anti-disengagement protests in 2005[13] and his support for Kahanist ideology.[14]


On 1 June 2009, Ben-Ari was handcuffed and arrested after being involved in an incident near Yitzhar in the West Bank, and despite his parliamentary immunity as Member of Knesset. He climbed onto an army truck and refused to get off, demanding that the Israel Border Police and Israel Defense Forces soldiers explain to him why they had arrested and handcuffed minors at a roadblocking protest.[15][16] Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin called the police commissioner and clarified that the police has no authority to arrest an MK without his approval.[17] Yitzhak Aharonovich, the Internal Security Minister, justified the arrest, despite Ben Ari's parliamentary immunity, saying that he will not let MKs violate the law.[18] Ben-Ari's response was to suggest that Aharonovich first verify the facts before coming to conclusions.[19] The IDF Spokesman’s office started an investigation into whether the IDF and Border Guard acted illegally in their treatment of Ben-Ari.[20] On 16 June, the Knesset Committee discussed Ben-Ari's arrest. While the semantics of the word 'arrest' were discussed, it was confirmed that Ben-Ari was not incarcerated. It was reported that a letter from the Chief of General Staff's office stated that the IDF expects elected officials and public representatives not to fan the flames and to abide by instructions from the security forces. Chairman of the committee, Ze'ev Elkin from Likud, criticized the Ministry of Defense for boycotting the meeting and not sending representatives.[21][22]


  1. ^ The 18th Knesset presents: an MK originally from Kach
  2. ^ "The Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology - Doctorate Graduates". Bar-Ilan University. http://www.biu.ac.il/Academics/phd_heb/tashass/Landof.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-13. (Hebrew)
  3. ^ "Knesseth profile of Michael Ben--Ari". Knesset. http://www.knesset.gov.il/mk/heb/mk_print.asp?mk_individual_id_t=841. Retrieved 2010-10-25. (Hebrew)
  4. ^ Hebrew Wikipedia article he:מיכאל בן ארי
  5. ^ "Biography". personal website. http://www.mbenari.co.il/BRPortal/br/P102.jsp?arc=10613. Retrieved 2009-06-09. (Hebrew)
  6. ^ Number 4 in the National Union: Everyone Understand that Kahane was Right Yedioth Ahronoth (Hebrew)
  7. ^ The "Kahanist" MK complained about Arie Golan: He Cut me Short in an Interview Maariv
  8. ^ Candidates for the 16th Knesset Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  9. ^ List of Candidates: Jewish National Front Knesset website
  10. ^ Far-rightist MK: Hitler Youth pope not welcome in Israel
  11. ^ Hillel Fendel (2009-04-30). "Protest Letter: 'Israel Going Too Far for Pope'". Israel National News. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/131127. Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  12. ^ Uri Avnery July 17, 2010
  13. ^ U.S. Denies Visa to MK Ben-Ari Israel National News
  14. ^ https://www.5tjt.com/featured-news/7746-in-the-knesset
  15. ^ Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu (2009-06-01). "MK Ben-Ari Hospitalized after Police Kick Him at Protest". Israel National News. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/131651. Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^ The minister against disturbances in the West Bank, we will consider MKs immunity, in Hebrew.
  19. ^ Uzi Baruch (2009-06-02). "בן ארי: על המשטרה לערוך בדק בית". Israel National News. http://www.inn.co.il/News/News.aspx/190024. Retrieved 2009-06-09. (Hebrew)
  20. ^ http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/131668
  21. ^ Ezra Hezki (2009-06-16). "מערכת הביטחון מזלזלת בכנסת". Israel National News. http://www.inn.co.il/News/News.aspx/190650. Retrieved 2009-06-16. (Hebrew)
  22. ^ "פרוטוקול מס 15 מישיבת ועדת הכנסת". Knesset. 2009-06-16. http://www.knesset.gov.il/protocols/data/html/knesset/2009-06-16.html. Retrieved 2009-06-26. (Hebrew)

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