Transportation Minister:
'There's a real concern right-wing voters won't turnout to vote'

National Union chief to Arutz Sheva: 'There are concerns on the Israeli Right that our base has become complacent and won't show up to vote'

Yoni Kempinski ,

Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel Smotrich
Meir Elifur

There is increasing concern among some on the Israeli Right that voters from the nationalist camp may not turnout to vote in next month’s Knesset election, leading to a left-wing victory and formation of a government led by the Blue and White party.

Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Yamina) spoke with Arutz Sheva at a conference in Eilat Sunday, expressing his concerns that right-wing voters have become ‘complacent’, leading to a large number of them staying home on election day.

Speaking with Arutz Sheva, Smotrich noted that the decline in voter turnout on the Right, particularly in the National – Religious sector, was a major factor in the decline of the right-wing bloc in the second Knesset election of 2019.

“In the second election last year there was a decline of about nine seats [worth of votes] from the first election, and it was because of complacency on the Right, and Religious Zionism suffered from this as well; this complacency is dangerous,” said Smotrich.

“In recent years, we have – both as a community [the Religious Zionist community] and the State of Israel as a whole – have been at ease. We need to remember that, God forbid, in two weeks we could end up with a left-wing government. What will that do to our educational institutions? What will that do…to the settlement enterprise? To our security? We, as a community, have become complacent and apathetic.”

The Israeli Right, not including Yisrael Beytenu, received a total of 2,216,547 votes in the April, 2019 election, or 51.44% of the total vote.

In the September election, however, the Israeli Right declined not only in relative terms, falling to 46.36% of the total vote, but in also in terms of the absolute numbers of votes cast, receiving 2,056,855 votes, or 159,692 fewer than in April – despite significant increases in the number of votes received by the two haredi parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism.

Regarding public frustration over the Yamina party’s refusal to permit Otzma Yehudit to run on a joint list, and the pressure on the Jewish Home to abandon its alliance with Otzma Yehudit, Smotrich said voters shouldn’t let their anger with Yamina’s behavior lead them to abandon the party.

“The behavior of public officials should look different than this. You have the right to be angry and we apologize, but people cannot let their anger control them. After the whole unpleasant process that we went through, still, there is no better party than us.”