Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s Facebook post equating port workers with ants

On Sunday, neo-liberal Minister of the Economy Naftali Bennett wanted to send the army into the ports in the event of a strike; now he wants to “exterminate” them, but wraps this in the form of a pun. In the latest post on his Facebook, he wrote, “That’s it. The ants are impossible. I came home and realized that something had to be done. They’re in the kitchen, the living room, the guest room. The whole house is filled with ants. I called in the exterminator.”

In Hebrew, the word for “ants” and “ports” is the same – “nemalim”. The reference to workers at Israel’s seaports and their unions is unmistakable. But workers at the seaports who are struggling against privatization, are not laughing.

On August 5, 1981, American President Ronald Reagan fired every member of the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) who’d defied his order to return to work and declared their union illegal. They had been on strike for just two days (Photo: L’Humanite)

Extreme-right Bennett targeted the ports during the election campaign, when he called for a fight against powerful unions. On Sunday, Bennett said that he had drawn up a plan, “Code 1981”, which featured sending the IDF into the ports in the event of a wildcat strike over the government’s plans to build a new private-owned port. The plan’s name was inspired by US President Ronald Reagan, who broke the air traffic controllers strike that year.

The post is causing an outcry on the Internet. According to the Communist Party of Israel Central Committee “racist Bennett’s invitation to exterminators to exterminate the ports workers marks an escalation in Naftali Bennett’s battle against the working class. Bennett is inspired by the occupation of the Palestinian territories and the Israeli colonial policy in these territories.”

Government plans to use army to break any port strike