Party leader Geert Wilders has repeatedly urged the Dutch government to move its embassy in the Jewish state from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In 1980, 17-year-old Geert Wilders from Venlo leaves for Israel and goes to work in a moshav.
Akiva Van Koningsveld and European Jewish Press
By JNS and EJP
The Netherlands’ Freedom Party, led by controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders, was set to win a landslide victory in Wednesday’s Dutch general election, possibly paving the way for the most pro-Israel coalition in the country’s history.
According to preliminary results published by the Netherlands’ public broadcaster NOS on Thursday morning, with 98% of the votes counted, Wilders won 37 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives, more than double the 17 he won three years ago.
In second place was a far-left alliance between the Labor Party and GreenLeft Party, expected to win 25 seats.
The shock win gives Wilders a chance to lead talks to form a new ruling coalition and possibly become the European nation’s prime minister.
As a young man, Wilders volunteered on Israeli kibbutzim and moshavim in Judea and Samaria. He has been an outspoken proponent of Israeli sovereignty over the disputed territories, having said recently that “there has been an independent Palestinian state since 1946: the Kingdom of Jordan.”
He has also criticized U.S. President Joe Biden for unfreezing $6 billion in Iranian assets in exchange for five American hostages, calling the move a “huge unprecedented blunder.”
For years, Wilders has urged the Dutch government to move its embassy in the Jewish state from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in addition to closing the Dutch diplomatic office in Ramallah, home of the Palestinian Authority.
On Nov. 4, Wilders wrote on X (formerly Twitter): “Israel is fighting for its existence. Against the forces of hate, barbarism and terrorism. No Israeli wants unnecessary civilians to be killed. But Hamas needs to be eliminated. We have to fully support Israel and the Jewish people!”
In an earlier post, he wrote, “The response of Israel must be tough. Restraint is a foolish Western concept that is perceived as weakness by Islamic terrorists. They call it a ‘Hudna,’ a ceasefire only to regroup and attack again.”
Wilders, who is married to a Hungarian-Jewish diplomat, has been living under 24-hour police protection since 2004 due to threats from radical Islamists.
The Freedom Party’s election program included calls to end the “asylum tsunami,” measures to “de-Islamize” the country and a referendum on the Netherlands’ European Union membership.
According to the NOS exit poll, the Freedom Party’s Gidi Markuszower, a Dutch-Israeli politician born in Tel Aviv who was first elected six years ago, is set to return to parliament, as is Martin Bosma, a current MP who speaks fluent Hebrew.
Wilders’s popularity surged in the weeks following Hamas’s Oct. 7 slaughter of more than 1,200 people in southwestern Israel, as the Netherlands was rocked by violent and antisemitic anti-Israel protests.
An anonymous official in the Dutch People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, which had been in power since 2010, on Wednesday told the Dutch daily De Telegraaf that the party had been out of touch with society for a while.
“We had a minister of justice who could have done something against pro-Palestinian protests throughout the country,” lamented the official, in reference to party leader Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgöz-Zegerius.
Geert Wilders was just elected PM of the Netherlands — by a landslide.
Here’s what he’s said about Israel:
“If Jerusalem falls into the hands of the Muslims, Athens and Rome will be next. Thus, Jerusalem is the main front protecting the West. It is not a conflict over… pic.twitter.com/290qc5c4HU
— Dovid Efune (@Efune) November 22, 2023
“Wilders should send some flowers to the Dutch Hamas apologists of recent weeks. Their campaign, even at train stations during the commemoration of Kristallnacht, won him at least 10 more seats,” tweeted Zihni Özdil, a former MP for the GreenLeft Party.
Wilders and Israel
In 1980, 17-year-old Geert Wilders from Venlo leaves for Israel and goes to work in a moshav, a kind of collective farm. The later founder of the PVV stays in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). “Although I prefer to call it ‘liberated territory’ myself,” he said when asked about the ”occupied territory.”
As part of the 70th anniversary of the state of Israel, the politician spoke at length about his time in the moshav for the first time, at NOS public television. We are talking about the period before Wilders became politically active, but the stay undoubtedly left a big mark on his life.
Coming of age
He actually wanted to go to Australia, but the side job in a pickle factory didn’t last long enough for Wilders to pay for the expensive plane ticket. Because few countries accept 17-year-olds without work permits, it became Israel. There the scholar was welcome.
“I always say: Israeli women are the most beautiful in the world,” Wilders told presenter Wilfried de Jong. “Except for Hungarian women, I must confess by now.” Wilders’ wife is from Hungary.
He remembers well how in the middle of the night the alarm went off and he and his roommates had to flee to the shelter. “From a distance, I saw the infiltrators coming into the valley from Jordan.”
“But then you realize: those infiltrators didn’t come to Israel to bring flowers. Their goal was to kill as many people as possible and then kill themselves,” said Wilders.