Smotrich: 'I don't believe Netanyahu's election promises'

Chairman Smotrich last pep-talk to religious Zionism to go vote with head held high about past achievements and future goals.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Yoni Kempinski

Hours before the polling stations open, National Union Chairman MK Betzalel Smotrich spoke to Arutz Sheva about his feelings and hopes as the election campaign closes.

Smotrich makes it clear that the Prime Minister's siphoning votes from the right-wing parties was expected and did not surprise him or his party's members, "and I want to believe that since this isn't the first time, the public is smart enough to understand that there's nothing behind it. What counts is the size of the bloc. If Netanyahu has more recommendations, he'll form the government."

Smotrich adds that he sees no scenario in which Benny Gantz succeeds in forming a coalition, and therefore all that remains is the question of the composition of the next Netanyahu government: "Will there be too strong a Prime Minister who'll bring the second disengagement upon us, will lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state, or will he be not such a strong prime minister and we'll be big and strong to form the backbone of the government to make sure that this is a real Rightist government, even in the Jewish aspect."

If it seems that the Likud and the Right Parties Union have an unwritten agreement, a semblance that matched the moves before the establishment of the Rightist Union, Smotrich says that four years in the coalition have made clear to him that at the end of the day politics works differently, and therefore he's not angry with Netanyahu or Bennett, and each one will present his wares to the public, which isn't in anyone's pocket.

"I don't believe Netanyahu's election promises," says Smotrich, referring to Netanyahu's recent declarations of applying Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria. "If we believed in these promises then the area of ​​E-1 would have already been skyscrapers ... After all, he went there with a promise two days before the elections, and what's in the area that connects Ma'ale Adumim to Jerusalem ... This is the basis of the sovereignty plan. When we led the discourse of sovereignty during the last term, and at first we went to the minimum of Ma'aleh Adumim first, Netanyahu also torpedoed this time and time again, certainly when we wanted to promote a law in the spirit of the decision of the Likud Central Committee to impose sovereignty over the settlement areas."

Smotrich recommends listening carefully to Netanyahu's words to identify between the lines his intention to establish a Palestinian state, "even if he's not going to uproot settlements in a forceful manner, he's going to turn them into Netzarim [a Gaza Jewish community rendered untenable after surrounding land was surrendered to the Palestinian Authority]. That's the meaning. G-d forbid, there'll be a large Arab terror state with tiny enclaves in it, barely accessible by a narrow corridor. Imagine Elon Moreh, Yitzhar, Shilo, Eli, certainly Beit El, and Kiryat Arba, and imagine them surrounded by walls and traveling the roads in an impossible security situation."

To this Smotrich adds and emphasizes the fundamental ideological aspect of Greater Israel, a principle that his party is the only one carrying, "because of the sanctity of the Land and not as a pragmatic Right that sees only strategic needs. Bennett talks about autonomy in A and B, which will connect to a Palestinian state in Gaza, which in my opinion is an abandonment of values. Who allowed us to divide the Land of Israel into letters? Netanyahu's talking about establishing a terror state in most of Judea and Samaria, and we have to say it clearly. He'll dry up settlement quietly."

Since this is the case, Smotrich says his party must be in the government to block such events and scenarios. "He'll sell it as a right-wing plan, and he'll talk about sovereignty in settlement blocs. Outside the settlement blocs lies more than 90 percent of the area and 150,000 settlers whose life won't be a life."

Another aspect that Smotrich mentions and emphasizes is the aspect of the State of Israel's Jewish identity: "Can anyone trust Netanyahu to preserve the Jewish identity of the State of Israel, is there anyone in the Likud carrying this banner, is someone in the New Right carrying this banner? There's no Eretz Yisrael without Torah and there's no Torah without the Land of Israel.

"If religious Zionism goes too far in carrying others' stretcher, it won't have anyone to bear its own stretcher; we cannot go back to three or four Knesset seats. We want to keep the education and justice portfolios, they're big, meaningful positions, and those who want religious Zionism at the helm, that's how you lead: Next to the helm with a kippa on the head and esprit de corps. There's no movement that acted like us. They paint us as extremists. Are hesder yeshivas extremist? Are youth movements extremist? Are the Core Groups extremist? The preparatory courses are extreme? Is it an extreme to be in an Ulpana? Are countless religious officers in Army Base One extreme?"

In his remarks, Smotrich proposes to the religious Zionist voter to enter the ballot box, and recall who he is and with head held high remember whose movement leads in the State of Israel and vote accordingly.

"Our way is bigger than one person or another. We were big and powerful before Bennett and Shaked, we were with them and we'll be with them too, so when Gantz wants to frighten Israeli society, he talks about Smotrich. He knows this is the real Right. He's not afraid of Bennett, and certainly not of Feiglin who declared that the right-wing block disinterests him completely. He's afraid of us because we have a cast-iron spine. This is us and we should be proud of it. The masses of the House of Israel who meet us everywhere know that we're neither intimidating nor threatening. We won't be blackened, they won't dishonor us or delegitimize us. They do this to us because they want us small and ineffectual and the answer to these slanders we must give them at the ballot box."