Smotrich returning to Yamina? 'If Bennett comes to his senses'

Religoius Zionist Party chief hints at possible reunification with Yamina, but adds he's open to joint run with other rightist factions.

Hezki Baruch ,

Bennett (r) and Smotrich (l)
Bennett (r) and Smotrich (l)
Flash90

MK Bezalel Smotrich, chairman of the Religious Zionist Party, could return to the Yamina faction, led by Naftali Bennett, Smotrich said Tuesday – under the right circumstances.

Speaking with Galei Tzahal Tuesday morning, the former Transportation Minister who recently announced plans to run separately from the Yamina party at the helm of the new Religious Zionist Party, said that he was leaving the door open to a renewed alliance with Yamina chief Naftali Bennett, but only if Bennett committed himself to “right-wing principles”.

“I’m not making any promises. But it could happen, if Bennett comes to his senses and goes back to being what we are familiar with. I’m not going to accept the idea that we can set our right-wing principles aside.”

Smotrich had demanded four seats for his National Union faction – the predecessor of the new Religious Zionist Party – in the top eight spots of the Yamina list, as well as a promise from Bennett that the party would ally itself with the right-wing bloc, and not aid in the formation of a centrist or center-left government.

In the meantime, Smotrich said, he will continue preparations for an independent Knesset bid. Smotrich denied that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had orchestrated the split between Yamina and the Religious Zionist Party.

“I made the decisions for one reason and one reason only – we must have a right-wing national government.”

When asked whether he would ally himself with the Otzma Yehudit faction of Itamar Ben-Gvir, Smotrich said: “We will unite with as many groups as possible who share our ideas. There is a wide swath of the public which wants this, unlike other parties which behave like stocks traded on the stock market.”



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