Far-right Israeli minister calls for Muslim month of Ramadan to be 'wiped out' amid Gaza war

Far-right Israeli minister calls for Muslim month of Ramadan to be 'wiped out' amid Gaza war
Amihai Eliyahu, Israel's extremist Heritage Minister, has previously called for a nuclear attack to be carried out in Gaza.
3 min read
02 March, 2024
Eliyahu's comments come as Ramadan is due to begin later this month [Getty/file photo]

A far-right Israeli minister has called for Ramadan to be "wiped out" eight days before the holy Muslim month is due to start, as Israel continues to wage its genocidal war in the Gaza Strip.

Amihai Eliyahu, the country’s Heritage Minister, also said that potential tensions during the holy month in the devastated territory and the occupied West Bank should be disregarded, in an interview on Friday with the Israeli Army Radio.

"The so-called month of Ramadan must be wiped out, and our fear of this month must also be wiped out," he said.

Eliyahu is a member of the far-right, extremist Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party, which has been described as fascist and anti-Arab. The party is headed by Itamar Ben-Gvir, the extremist National Security Minister who has called for the expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza and the building of illegal Israeli settlements in the territory as well as the shooting of Palestinian women and children, as Israel continues to wage its deadly military onslaught.

Eliyahu, who has been Heritage Minister since 2022, has made similarly violent remarks amid Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. In November, the extremist politician said that "using a nuclear weapon was an option" for the Israeli army, and claimed that Gaza had "no right to exist".

The minister’s comments were denounced by the Council on Muslim-American Relations (CAIR), who have urged US President Joe Biden to condemn his words.

CAIR Deputy Executive Director Edward Ahmed Mitchel said: "Once again, an Israeli government official has openly made genocidal remarks that the Biden administration has failed to condemn. Enough is enough."

 "The Israeli government keeps screaming to everyone that will listen that it is waging a war on the entire Palestinian population, as well as their cultural symbols, from churches to mosques to even Ramadan itself," he added in reference to past remarks made by Israeli politicians endorsing and encouraging attacks on civilians in Gaza.

Eliyahu's remarks come as Israel has expressed "fears" of an escalation in tensions in the West Bank and Gaza during Ramadan as a result of the ongoing war, as well as Israeli restrictions on access the Al-Aqsa Mosque due to be imposed during the holy month, which will start around March 10.

The mosque is Islam's third holiest site, and usually attracts hundreds of thousands of worshippers especially during Ramadan.

Both Biden and the Palestinian Authority have expressed "hopes" that a ceasefire deal will be reached before Ramadan begins later this month, though an agreement has "yet to be reached".

Negotiations between Israel and Hamas have been ongoing through mediators over a possible ceasefire in Gaza, with the aim of halting violence in time for Ramadan.

Egyptian security sources said on Saturday that ceasefire negotiations were due to resume in Cairo on Sunday.

At least 30,320 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since October 7 as of Saturday, mostly women and children, as Israel continues to carry out atrocities deemed as war crimes in the enclave.