Bezalel Smotrich: 'Netanyahu stabbed a knife in our backs'

'We didn't ask Netanyahu for a price he couldn't pay, we asked for things that were truly doable,' former Transportation Min. Smotrich says.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel Smotrich
Photo by Sraya Diamant/Flash90

Outgoing Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Yamina) slammed Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, saying that Netanyahu did not want Yamina in the coalition with him.

In an interview with Israel Hayom, Smotrich said, "I'm at peace with the decision to join the opposition. It's the correct choice, we couldn't allow ourselves to join a coalition with Netanyahu's condescending and degrading attitude. I heard him say that he didn't slam the door on anything relating to our joining. The thing is, he never opened it."

According to Smotrich, Netanyahu's attitude towards Yamina is typical of his attitude towards Religious Zionism in general. "[Yuli] Edelstein (Likud) was removed from his position as Knesset speaker - [Netanyahu] put a knife in his back. [Ze'ev] Elkin (Likud) was removed from his position in the Environmental Protection Ministry, and given a portfolio for a bunch of nothing, and Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) was appointed minister of a bunch of nothing, and even that is temporary, until he sends her as an emissary abroad."

"We didn't ask Netanyahu for any political price that he couldn't pay. No one demanded the Health Ministry - Edelstein is there despite the fact that he didn't ask for it. [Netanyahu] tried to sell the Health [Ministry] to Blue and White, and he didn't manage. The Transportation Ministry no one wanted, only on the last day, he barely managed to convince Miri Regev (Likud) to take the Transportation Ministry. We didn't ask for the Religious Affairs Ministry, because then he would've had to fight with [Shas Chairman Aryeh] Deri. We asked for things that were truly doable."

Regarding outgoing Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz's decision to leave Yamina and join the new coalition, Smotrich said that he respects Peretz, but "no one imagined that in the next election, the Jewish Home headed by Rabbi Rafi Peretz would run alone and pass the electoral threshold. Unfortunately, he is burying a century-old party."

"I've known Rabbi Rafi for a year already, and I have to tell you the truth, there isn't a single political mistake that he hasn't made in the past year. I want to protect his honor, at the end of the day he is a rabbi and he educated many students and did many good things, but he is not suited for politics."