Founder of 'Fascist' Rightist Group Eyes Spot on Habayit Hayehudi List

Judge ruled in 2013 that the activist organization founded by Ronen SHoval bore similarities to fascism.

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
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Director of Im Tirtzu Ronen Shoval.
Director of Im Tirtzu Ronen Shoval. Credit: Archive
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Ronen Shoval, former chairman of the right-wing activist group Im Tirzu, intends competing for a place on the Habayit Hayehudi list in the forthcoming elections, Haaretz has learned.

Im Tirzu, the organization which he founded and led, was described by an Israeli judge as having similarities to fascism in 2013.

Shoval, 33, recently completed a term as international organizer for Habayit Hayehudi.

Among his controversial activities with Im Tirzu was the publication of a booklet and a public relations campaign called Nakba-Harta (Nakba Rubbish,) which ostensibly exposed Palestinian propaganda about Israel's War of Independence. The campaign was widely condemned as being racist.

In 2013, Im Tirzu launched a libel suit against the people behind a Facebook page that described Im Tirzu as a fascist movement. The court dismissed the suit, ruling that "there is a basis for seeing commonalities between the positions of the movement and certain foundational principles of fascism."

Giving testimony during the trial, Shoval acknowledged that he had hired private investigators to gather material on human rights organizations which, according to him, were "infected with covert anti-Zionism."

He also acknowledged that private investigators had been sent to the offices of Michael Sfard, the attorney representing the defendants in the case.

Another of Shoval's projects was an attempt to bring about the closure of the Politics and Government department at Ben-Gurion University, on the grounds that most of the department's lecturers were leftists. In a letter to the university, Shoval warned that "donations to the university will be released only after it has proved that the bias in the faculty and syllabuses of the department has been corrected."

University President Rivka Carmi ignored Shoval's letter saying "we know such things from dark regimes."

Shoval, a father of three who lives in the West Bank settlement Efrat, told Haaretz: "There's a lot pf pressure to run [for the Knesset.] They want to increase the possibilities of action by the democratic Zionist camp against the left. I haven't decided yet."

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