MK Zeev Elkin (Likud) said on Wednesday that the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria will continue to be supported by the Likud in the next government, but said he was concerned that Likud’s coalition partners may not be as supportive.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva one day after the Likud Beytenu won just 31 seats in the new government, significantly lower than the 42 that the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu had in the outgoing Knesset, Elkin admitted his party came this close to losing power.
“Parties like Otzma LeYisrael, Rabbi Amsalem, Koach Lehashpia and the independent Russian party took many votes from the right,” said Elkin. “At least three or four nationalist seats were wasted.”
He added that despite the fact that Binyamin Netanyahu will most certainly remain as Prime Minister, there is disappointment within the Likud over the number of seats achieved.
“We made this achievement by the skin of our teeth,” admitted Elkin. “We were able to break the tradition that the right does not stay in power for more than one term, but if just one more seat had gone to the left, there would likely be a government that would be a nightmare to the settlement enterprise.”
“The sad thing is that people voted as if they had two slips, one for a party and a separate one for Prime Minister,” said Elkin, referring to a system of elections that was implemented in Israel in 1992 but was abandoned after the 2001 election because it failed to produce more stable governments. “They wanted Netanyahu for Prime Minister but voted for Lapid’s party. The fact is that those who declared that they will not sit with Netanyahu suffered a defeat, such as what happened with Labor’s Shelly Yechimovich.”
As for the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, Elkin said, “I contended all along that the outgoing government was relatively good for the settlement enterprise, but we were constantly attacked and were told that it was bad. Now that the nationalist bloc has dropped in power, it will not be simple to find an anchor that is right-wing enough in the next coalition. The settlement enterprise has people in the Likud whom it can trust, but the potential coalition partners are different this time.”
Elkin said he believed that the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) will be part of the negotiations to join the coalition, stressing, “We will want everyone, and the last time we also wanted everyone, including the National Union, but that did not happen because of a mistake in the conduct of the negotiations.”
He thanked all the residents of Judea and Samaria who supported the Likud, saying, “We received a lot of support from many communities in Judea and Samaria. We got a lot of votes and this proves there is a good connection between the Likud and the settlement enterprise.”