Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel SmotrichYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

A poll conducted in the WhatsApp group of Kan 11 News on Tuesday, following the interview with Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, asked the participants whether they agree with Smotrich’s remarks that the most important goal right now is to defeat Hamas.

More than 1,600 respondents supported Minister Smotrich's opinion and answered “yes, victory is more important”. Only 353 supported the answer “no, the most important thing is the return of the hostages”.

Earlier, Minister Smotrich was asked, during an interview on Reshet Bet radio, about his position regarding the negotiations for a deal to release the hostages from Hamas captivity.

"It's not the most important thing. Why hold a competition? What's important now? We need to destroy Hamas. It's very important, but you also understand that saying 'at any cost' is a problem. We need to return the hostages, we need to pressure Hamas," said Smotrich.

Smotrich later posted a tweet on X in which he wrote, "I was asked in an interview whether the return of the hostages is not the most important thing, before destroying Hamas and winning the war. My answer is clear: Only by destroying Hamas and winning the war will we return all the hostages. Those who call for a deal at any cost will lead to Israel’s defeat in the war and will also remove the possibility of bringing the hostages home."

Minister Benny Gantz said in response, "The return of the hostages is not only our goal in the war, it is our moral imperative as a country and as a people. It is the most urgent thing. We will not miss any opportunity to bring them home."

Minister and cabinet member Yifat Shasha-Biton said, "It is important to topple Hamas, but the return of the hostages is the most urgent thing! Without the return of the hostages, there is no victory! Certainly not 'total victory'. Those who do not understand this do not know what leadership is."

Opposition leader Yair Lapid responded, "Smotrich’s attack on the families of the hostages is a moral disgrace. Heartless people cannot continue to lead the State of Israel to the abyss. Smotrich, 1,200 Israelis were murdered on your watch and that of Netanyahu, on your watch Israeli citizens, for whose fate you are responsible, were kidnapped, tortured and raped. Without the return of the hostages, Israel will not win."