Smotrich to Arutz Sheva: I will run with Bennett, together we will bring achievements

National Union leader says Bennett will focus on COVID, economy, while he will focus on issues of religion and law.

Shimon Cohen ,

Bennett and Smotrich
Bennett and Smotrich
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

National Union chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich pledged to continue to run together with Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett in the upcoming elections.

"I have been saying for many months that we, religious Zionism and Bennett's 'New Right', should run together. For months now I have been striving for contact to seal the deal and produce public certainty, and I believe that will be the case. This partnership is built on a kind of mutual reciprocity," Smotrich said in an interview with Arutz Sheva.

''Bennett declares that he will deal only with the coronavirus and the economy, and our role as the Religious Zionist Party, in this union will continue to be to advance the values ​​of Religious Zionism in settling the settlements, in applying sovereignty, in reforming the judiciary, in strengthening Jewish identity and caring for the needs of this general public. For everyone to do their part there must be a true egalitarian partnership in which everyone brings what they bring, and so the collaboration will work well. The public wants this connection and unity. It works great, we are good friends and work together in a paragon of unity," he said.

"Whoever follows sees this cooperation and completion. Bennett will deal with the coronavirus and I with the legal issues, the settlements, the quality of life, etc. It is a cooperation that needs to be finalized. Naftali should be asked why this has not happened yet. Last time he said it will be finalized in the next 12 hours. I suggest we do it sooner. It's a waste in terms of PR [that we have not done it sooner], but we must run together. The public will not forgive anyone who splits the camp. We will run together in the understanding that these are two parts that complement each other out of equality. One should not cancel the opinion or political power of the other.

And perhaps Naftali Bennett believes that in order to gather back the voters who abandoned him in favor of Gideon Sa'ar, he will have to disengage from Smotrich and his positions on religion and state, the Land of Israel and sovereignty, etc? "He does not say that and I think the public will not accept such a statement," Smotrich replied. "Naftali Bennett has already tried once to break free from religious Zionism and the result was that he did not pass the electoral threshold and we were dragged into three more elections. It is not wise to repeat a mistake twice."

"We were 24 seats in the polls together before Sa'ar came. These are seats that were not afraid of religious Zionism from the right and Smotrich and what he stands for. We dropped in the polls because Sa'ar is competing for many of the same elements that Naftali [Bennett] is competing for. Religious Zionism has a path of values and vision, religious Zionism has gone for many years not according to one survey or another but with flags and enterprises in education, in settlements, and welfare.

''At the moment I have not received from Naftali indications that he is turning in the direction of separation, if that happens I am convinced that Religious Zionists will vote for the Religious Zionist Party and will not go a second time on an adventure that has already failed. From what I understand, he is not there," he said.

On the possibility of joining with Sa'ar even before the election, Smotrich said: "for me by no means. This is my opinion. Gideon is founding the 'Just Not Bibi' party and I cannot be there. I have a lot of criticism of Netanyahu and I think that after all the good things he has done, we can move forward. Netanyahu is a right-wing leader who boasts of containing battles and having not evacuated settlements in all the years of Obama, and I think now we also have attacking players who know how to score goals and bring achievements and change policies, prevent erosion in values ​​and democracy."

"We have many tasks and in this matter Netanyahu is far from delivering the goods, and yet I am not willing to be part of a system whose only common denominator is 'just not Netanyahu,' a mechanism that prevents us from fighting hatred. We're not there. After the election we will consider where and how we can best promote our values ​​in accordance with the balance of power. I do not commit to anyone and I do not boycott anyone.