Notorious anti-Arab Israeli rapper joins PM Netanyahu's Likud party

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The Shadow was sponsored by the equally controversial MP Oren Hazan, who said the rapper is ‘worth five seats’ in parliament

Notorious anti-Arab Israeli rapper joins PM Netanyahu's Likud party
Yoav Eliasi, aka The Shadow, with his Likud sponsor Oren Hazan. Photograph: Amit Shabi

A notorious Israeli rapper known as much for his far-right and violently anti-Arab views as his music has joined the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Yoav Eliasi, known as The Shadow, has called, among other things, for paramedics to harvest the organs of Palestinians killed in attacks on Jews, and helped organise a rally in support of an Israeli soldier on trial for executing a wounded Palestinian.

During the 2014 Gaza war, he organised a violent counter demonstration in response to a leftwing anti-war protest, mobilising a group of hardline followers he dubbed “the Shadow’s lions” to fight “the real enemy among us: the radical left”.

Speaking after joining the party, Eliasi said he would draft his lions into a “Likud guard”.

The equally controversial Likud MP Oren Hazan sponsored Eliasi for membership of the party, boasted that the rapper could bring the party five new seats via his Facebook following, which is 220,000 strong.

Welcoming Eliasi, Hazan said: “The public is fed up with the fawning, cowardly leftist dialogue. Not for nothing does Yoav have a quarter of a million followers on social media networks. We are both free of political correctness.

“I’m not afraid to think of him as someone who is worth perhaps even five seats. There are a lot of [MPs] whom I would replace with Yoav right away.”

Defending his sponsorship of Eliasi, who hinted he might have political ambitions in the future, Hazan said that both were “fed up with the political correctness that has taken over”.

The shotgun marriage between Eliasi and Likud prompted immediate comment, most prominently in an editorial in the left-leaning daily Haaretz, which said his admission proved the moral deterioration of Likud into a party of darkness that gives voice to racism and the radical right.

Current senior members of the party remained largely silent, but the former Likud minister Limor Livnat condemned the move.

“He [Eliasi] said that the Likud is not what it once was and that he will explain to the Likud what the Likud is,” Livnat told Army Radio. “This is a man who posted shocking messages, horrible things, and he will explain to the Likud what the Likud is? I wanted to say with all due respect, but I have no respect.”

Eliasi originally emerged as a major recording artist in Israel in the 1990s, performing with another rapper known as Subliminal, wearing heavy gold stars of David as jewellery and writing songs that sometimes had nationalistic themes.

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