MK Ofir Sofer of the Religious Zionist Party was interviewed in Arutz Sheva’s studio on Tuesday and discussed the deep pain he feels in the face of the formation of the new government led by Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid.
"It hurts me very much that an ultra-right-wing party, which carried the word Yamina on its banner, just went too far to the left. The pain is real and the concern is real. We must do everything to shorten the days of this government. It is good for the Land of Israel, for the right, for the Jewish identity of the state, for the Torah and for everything we believe in," said Sofer.
Sofer said he had taken a look at the coalition agreement and was appalled by it. "The Kaminitz law has been working for a long time. If we release the law all of a sudden tomorrow, two weeks after the disturbances we went through within the State of Israel, it would be the biggest prize. Just saying that we do not enforce illegal construction will lead to abandonment. The first thing on the agenda of this government should be the restoration of governance. This is not going to happen when the senior partner is Mansour Abbas, chairman of the Interior Committee."
Sofer responded to reports that he had doubts about whether it was right not to agree to a right-wing government with outside support from Mansour Abbas.
"On the one hand you have 59 seats on the right. On the other hand there is a radical left-wing government as we see it now and there is definitely a question here. But when you consider it and have to negotiate with the Shura Council, the situation changes. I am surprised by the insane achievements Abbas has made. Half a billion shekels that went to Torah core programs are now going to him. They give Abbas the money and he will go to activities which strengthen the instigators, the incidents and attacks we experienced in Acre, the Galilee, Ramla and Lod."
"I wanted a leader, certainly when he comes from religious Zionism, to say that a left-wing government with Ra'am is not on the agenda and certainly after the events we have experienced. He said that and I do not know what caused the change. I heard with my own ears people from Yamina as well as from New Hope saying that if a left-wing government is taken off the agenda, there will be 61 members for a right-wing government," Sofer added.
"The option of running with Abbas is irrelevant. I fully supported the decision and am strengthened by it from moment to moment, as I see his achievements. He is my neighbor, village next to village, but he is connected to the Islamic Movement led by the Shura Council. The promo of the formation of the government and the complex situation we are in is the parade of flags. We are receiving threats from Knesset members in the State of Israel, who speak of strengthening the fight in Gaza and say that 'Al-Aqsa is in danger.' Is this a style that can be heard in the legislature? We are putting this in the Israeli government? It is a loss of direction."
"There is a moral bankruptcy here. This is a government that has taken steps that I would very much like to imagine were not intended. At the end of the day they went too far, too far to the left. This is the most shameful coalition agreement since the establishment of the State of Israel," Sofer claimed.
Asked about the public legitimacy the government receives from religious Zionism, he replied, "As far as I understand, an entire public feels cheated. These are people I met across the country and they did not understand this was all about. It is called a government of healing - how? When [Avigdor] Liberman said he would load the haredim on a wheelbarrow? After all, his and Lapid's entire infrastructure is built on hatred of the haredim and religion.Let's look ourselves in the eye: This government is one big bluff."
Asked whether there is a chance his party will join the new government at a later stage, Sofer replied, "I learned from Naftali Bennett in the previous round that sometimes there are situations that are not worth getting into in order to be a fig leaf of certain governments."