Report: Netanyahu considering firing Bezalel Smotrich

PM strongly considering firing Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich over minister's criticism of handling of Temple Mount riots.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu may be preparing to fire Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich, one of the two ministers from the United Right in his caretaker government.

According to a report Monday afternoon by Channel 12, Netanyahu has held meetings in the Prime Minister’s Office since Monday morning to weigh the possible removal of Smotrich from the caretaker government.

The Prime Minister convened the meetings after Smotrich excoriated Netanyahu Sunday, over his handling of Muslim riots in and around the Temple Mount, as well as the recent controversial court decision banning gender separation at a haredi concert in Afula.

United Right officials said Netanyahu’s discussion with Likud officials regarding the possible firing of Smotrich signaled his intentions to form a unity government with the center-left Blue and White party after the elections.

“Netanyahu’s threats to fire Smotrich are proof that he has set his sights on a government with Gantz.”

“Netanyahu’s humiliating treatment of Religious Zionism is set. He always uses us then throws us away. The fact that he would even dare talk about firing Smotrich proves that Netanyahu has decided on a government with the Left. He never dreamed of firing Kahlon or Liberman, who blasted him remorselessly.”

Netanyahu initially closed, then reopened the Temple Mount to Jewish visitors Sunday after Arab rioters clashed with police at the holy site.

Smotrich blasted Netanyahu over the initial closure, later saying the pressure on Netanyahu was key to the site’s reopening.

Later on Sunday, Smotrich lambasted Netanyahu and his government for failing to intervene after the Nazareth District Court barred a haredi concert in Afula from having gender-separate seating.

"If only I could expect the prime minister to come to the defense of the religious public and call on the Attorney General, whose people lead this fundamentalist secular coercion, to order. But right now he is busy looking for their mandates and has no time to deal with their plight,” said Smotrich.

''A stupid judicial system. Sorry that despite my position, I can't find a more refined word. A fundamentalist progressive idiocy. And since we're followers of this government, it won't help us to lay the responsibility on the legislators - a weak prime minister with 100 percent of this troll happening on his shift. Zero leadership. Zero governance. [Deputy Attorney Generall] Dina Zilber is the real prime minister."

Netanyahu and Smotrich have sparred in recent weeks, with the Transportation Minister accusing the Prime Minister of plotting to form a government with left-wing factions after the next election. Netanyahu, in turn, has mocked Smotrich over his support for the establishment of a theocratic state.