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David Touro

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The Honorable Minister of the Interior

David Touro
Yis David Touro pic 1.jpg
Then-MK for Chevron David Touro addressing the Knesset in 2019.
Minister of the Interior
Assumed office
February 3rd, 2020
MonarchHezekiah III (2020-present)
Preceded byYehudis Eisenberger (RCP)
Leader of the League for New Judea
In office
February 6th, 2006 – April 19, 2022
Preceded byAaron Lemberger
Succeeded byNosson Gevura (temporary)
Member of Knesset, LNJ-Chevron
In office
January 14th, 2008 – February 3rd, 2020
Preceded byIlan Hadad
Succeeded byIsaac Werner
Personal details
BornMay 6th, 1980
Chevron, Yarden Valley
NationalityYisraeli
Political partyRoyalist Conservative Party (2022-present)
Northern League (2004-2022)
Spouse(s)Bathsheva (neé Schoemacher}
ResidenceYerushalayim, Yisrael
Alma materB.A. in Political Science, King Solomon University
ProfessionPolitician, Political activist, Functionary

David S. Touro (born May 6th, 1980) is a Yisraeli politician who is the current Minister of the Interior under President Yitzchok Katz and formerly the longtime Leader of the Northern League party. Previously, he had served as Member of Knesset from Chevron from 2008-2020. Touro is an influential right-wing powerbroker in- and outside of the Knesset as well as a "respectable" member of the Yisraeli far right. However, he has personally and repeatedly rejected the label of "far right," instead using the moniker "national conservative."

He left the Conservatives after college in his early 20s and eventually joined the moribund far-right League for New Judea party. After another electoral loss, he challenged its then-head, Aaron Lemberger, who was considered an extremist and isolated from mainstream politics. After taking over the party, he ejected the most toxic and extreme elements and recruited more well-behaved hard-right activists and supporters, many of them former Conservatives and focused on rebuilding the party in the Yarden Valley District, where the minor right-wing National Union Party, before its 2006 merger with the Conservatives, had found fertile ground for sustained voter support.

In the next two elections - 2008 and 2010 - he increased the party's representation from zero to five seats, an impressive turnaround for a party dismissed and ridiculed by the other Knesset parties. After the 2010 elections, both the Conservatives and the Constitutional Liberals tried to sway Touro's small Knesset bloc to their side given the narrow margins of majority control that flipped back and forth between the Blues and Golds. Eventually, Touro sided with the Right Bloc and his party cross-endorsed the Conservatives in 2012 and again in 2016.

He added nationalist and right-wing populist elements to President Noah Feldman's emerging Neoconservative movement on the right. Although his party endorsed the Conservatives at the presidential level in 2012, it was not until 2016 that the Northern League - now at 11 seats - was included formally in the Conservative-led right-wing coalition in the Knesset.

In the 2020 elections, Touro's Northern League lost half of its Knesset seats to the Left Bloc, including his own constituency in Chevron. In a deal to keep the far-right in line, new President Yitzchok Katz gave Touro the Interior portfolio.

After the 2022 elections, the League was wholly evicted from the Knesset, losing all of its remaining seats. At the local level, the LNJ lost the governorship of the Yarden Special District, held by Touro's top ally Benni Schloss as well as his party's coalition majority in the Yarden district legislature and a score of local city council seats and mayorships. As the 2022 Sydalon diplomatic crisis deepened, Touro defected to the Conservatives in mid April 2022, resigning his membership and leadership roles in the League.

Early life and education

Touro was born on May 6th, 1980, to Royal Yisraeli Border Guard Capt. Naor and Goldie Touro (neé Ben-Asher) in the General Kabi Chazzan Military Hospital in Chevron, Yarden Valley Special District, Yisrael. He was the youngest of five. His father was a commanding officer of a local Magav garrison and his mother was a local teacher in a day school.

His father had fought the Sydalenes during the Fourth West Scipian War, and David grew up hearing these war stories, piquing his interest in all things mid-century Yisrael. Naor Touro grew up and was originally Dati Leumi but after the Yarden Accords in 1973 joined the growing Chardal movement, many of whom lived or relocated to reside in the Yarden River Valley.

David grew up attending a Chardal shul with Scipian minhagim. He attended the Chevron Torah Academy and later, at his father's behest, applied and spent his first year at the RYPA - Yerushalayim. However, he hated the military-style atmosphere and against his parents' wishes, transferred to King Solomon University, where he pursued first history, then a political science degree. While at university, he met and dated Bathsheva Schoemacher, and they married seven months later in 2003.

He did his national military service with the Magavnikim, stationed at a border garrison near Petra, Sydalon. He later began working as a campaign operative for the Conservatives in the Yarden Valley.

Political activism

Late 1990s

2000s

Leader of the Northern League

2006 leadership contest

2008 and 2010 elections

2008 campaign

2010 gains

Courted by both major parties (2010-2011)

Feldman era

2012 elections

2014 elections

Inclusion in the Right Bloc Knesset coalition (2016-2020)

2016 and 2018 elections

2020 elections

Loss of own Knesset seat

Return to the Conservatives (2022-present)

He has kept his Interior Ministry post after leaving the Northern League, with luminaries such as President Katz and down within the Conservatives welcoming him back into the party. In early May 2022, some in right-wing media circles have suggested he should be sacked as the goal of his appointment was to shore up "hard-right" voters and his leaving the League has "defeated" that goal; however, political strategists close to the Presidential Palace have signaled that the president's re-election strategy is pursuing new avenues in light of the changing foreign policy crisis with Sydalon and that they expect far-right voters to either stay home or support the president in an expected rematch with the United Center Bloc's Reuven Goldschmidt as well as an expected opponent (or two) from the Left.

Given his involvement with high-level Conservative politicians, staff, and opinion-makers since the League emerged on the scene in the late '00s, Touro has already been accepted as a political figure of import and the change of party affiliation is more a formality than a bigger identity change.

Katz Cabinet

Interior Minister

LDF

As Interior Minister, Touro has confronted numerous, complex, and overlapped state security challenges. Namely, he dealt with the emergence of the Liberal Democratic Front of Yisrael early on in the administration. The LDF launched several terrorist attacks against police in the weeks after its creation, and Minister Touro used special weapons police units to raid numerous LDF safehouses and round up scores of active LDF operatives and fighters; within a year of its founding, the LDF had been effectively forced off domestic territory to shelter abroad.

Alleged royalist plot

Also in the early months of the concurrent new presidential administration and the new King Hezekiah III, there were jurisdictional clashes between the Interior Ministry-run Royal Yisraeli Security Service (Shomrim) and the Crown-run Royal Yisraeli Special Political Police (YeMep). There remained tensions between the president and the King during this time. As late as the Onekawan Affair in fall 2020, there were fears inside the administration that the King or his supporters would try to implement a "parliamentary coup d'etat" and oust President Katz by "combining the offices of President and His Majesty as one," unifying the head of state and head of government. The fears were based on legislation proposed by some media-savvy far-right MK backbenchers, including both some Conservatives and Northern Leaguers, and that together with the October 2020 Crown critic disappearances, that the King or perhaps some of his fervent supporters would launch a bloodless coup and implement the executive office consolidation legislation, legalizing the coup and achieving an ultra-royalist dream to subvert and undo the 1920 Constitution.

Operation Blue Horizon

Purportedly, the threat was credible enough that Touro and his top aides and security services commanders drafted a quick-reaction plan for President Katz's use that planned for Shomrim agents, deputized local police officers, and select units of the Royal Yisraeli Army's Capital Guard to quickly arrest and put under house arrest the Royal Household and the MKs behind the legislation as well as seize and lock-down the central offices of the YeMep. The plan, according to those anonymous sources who spoke to the Royal Yerushalayim Dispatch, was sophisticated enough that there were sections contemplating "running gun battles" with YeMep agents and the King's Royal Guards on his palace grounds. The operational plan also noted that fears of such an event that far-right mobs might attempt to interfere or storm presidentially-loyal government offices.

In the end, leaked partial audio of the King's speech sparked a domestic political crisis that forced the King to clarify his remarks and lead to a big boost in President Katz's popularity. The Shomrim and YeMep jointly agreed that the Crown critic disappearances were likely linked to the LDF. A Shomrim agency spokesman later denied that such a secret anti-coup plan existed, calling the allegations of a far-right ultra-royalist coup "fantastical" and "unsupported."

Christian terrorism

Traditional Christian terrorist enemies re-emerged on the intelligence scene by 2021, with a July 5, 2021 attempted breakout of jailed Christian terrorist "lifers" proving to be a big embarrassment for the Ministry. In a related note, the emerging 2022 Sydalon diplomatic crisis has led to skyrocketing rhetoric and attacks, especially in the Yarden River Valley, between members of the Jewish far-right and sectarian Yisraeli Christians who support or are sympathetic to Sydalene pan-nationalism.

The Interior Ministry and the Shomrim have been cooperating closely with Yarden District authorities, and as of May 2, 2022, the Shomrim has over 88 investigations opened into the Accords crisis-fueled sectarian violence.

Political views

Touro, as the LNJ party leader, led a "respectable" far-right party, often called "far-right-lite" by some political analysts. However, he himself has always self-identified as a "national conservative," and political watchers put him more in the "hard right" category rather than formally apart of the far-right sector.

He reformed the League from a hotbed of largely-fringe and toxic extremists into a more behaved, disciplined, "normal" political party, ejecting the ruffians and radicals in favor of bringing in newer blood from more mainstream harder right-wing circles.

He was a Conservative in high school and college, and although he felt it was too moderate and unsympathetic with some of his more strongly conservative beliefs, he told the Royal Yerushalayim Dispatch in 2017 that he has "always retained a strong affinity with, and affection for, the Conservative Party" and felt that "the Blues and the League were natural allies."

He has also tried repeatedly to bridge the ideological differences between the Torah Achdus party and the League, finally and largely succeeding after years of failed efforts with the mediation of Yitzchok Katz during his successful campaign for president in 2020.

In the early 2020s, media reports record him as "exasperated" by the increasingly radicalization among League ranks in the Hezekian era and amid the 2022 Sydalon diplomatic crisis, and he was increasingly viewed by his former party's grassroots activists as an "establishment sellout" and "insider." He defected in mid-April 2022 to the Conservatives, abandoning his longtime role as League party chief to join the upper echelon of Conservative Party luminaries. In an interview with a prominent Channel 20 TV host on May 2, 2022, Touro called his political evolution "necessary and true to who [I] am," saying that his former party "was not what I built and not what I envisioned when I won [the party leadership] in 2006."

Personal life and family

Touro is married to wife Bathsheva (neé Schoemacher) since 2003. They have 3 children (by order of age): Joshua (age 18), Sara (age 15), and Baila (10).

The Touros reside in a largely Chardal neighborhood in Chevron as well as maintain a small apartment in Yerushalayim for his governmental duties.

Besides his avid political interests, Touro is a big sports fan, known to follow Ghantish hockey and Latin football. He also has a significant interest in history, especially mid-20th century events such as the West Scipian Wars.