Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin (Likud-Beytenu) warned nationalists Monday in an exclusive Arutz Sheva interview against toppling the current government – a move he said could lead to a left-wing government.
The “wound” that has opened up between Likud and hareidi parties means that the left-wing candidate for prime minister would receive more support in the next Knesset than Binyamin Netanyahu, he explained.
Elkin's warning appears to be intended mostly for Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett, who has been threatening to resign from the government if the Prime Minister goes ahead with a plan to release Arab terrorists who are Israeli citizens.
When asked whether he also intends to take drastic action in such a scenario, Elkin said that while his basic views on the release of terrorist murderers is similar to Bennett's, he prefers to say them to Netanyahu privately and not through the media, like Bennett.
“Usually, a threat of that nature brings about the opposite result and causes a toughening of positions,” he explained.
At least half of the Likud MKs oppose releasing the terrorists, Elkin assured the interviewer. Any attempt to replace the Jewish Home with the Labor party as a Coalition partner would also meet stiff internal Likud opposition, he said. Likud members know that adding Labor to the government would entail additional diplomatic concessions, when “we are already on the red line,” he added.