Michael Ben-Ari doesn't look like someone on the front lines, but he is -- in more ways than one. The far-right Israeli member of the Knesset was denied a visa to the United States in February because he was deemed to be a member of a terrorist organization -- likely Kach, a banned political party that calls for the expulsion of Arabs from the biblical lands of Israel. The incident caused a diplomatic uproar, as Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin wrote a letter to U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro condemning the U.S. action as "unacceptable."
A settler in the West Bank, Ben-Ari represents National Union, an alliance of national-religious parties that rejects the dismantling of the settlements and the creation of a Palestinian state. The 49-year-old former college lecturer lives in Karnei Shomron -- a settlement of 6,500 people on a hilltop 30 miles northeast of Tel Aviv -- with his wife and their eight children.
He is perhaps best known as a disciple of Meir Kahane, the American-Israeli ultranationalist rabbi who served four years in the Knesset until 1988, when Kach was banned for inciting racism. Two years later, an Arab gunman murdered Kahane in a New York hotel, but his creed lives on in Ben-Ari, the first avowed Kahanist to join the Knesset since the ban. Foreign Policy paid a visit to his settlement home to peek inside the black nylon bag he schleps to work each day in Jerusalem.
Clean shirt and tie: "My days are long -- luckily, I have a shower in the office." The label reads "Lord Fashion."
Leftovers: Persian-style rice with carrots, raisins, and cranberries. "My kids all eat Persian food," says Ben-Ari, who is of Iranian and Afghan descent. "This makes me feel connected to home."
iPhone: "I have a problem with all this modernization" -- Ben-Ari's home has no TV -- "but this thing won me over. One can't go to war carrying just a sword."