Smotrich: "Bennett has foresaken right-wing government"

Religious Zionist Party chief marks end to partnership with Yamina, warns that Bennett could ally himself with Lapid, back settlement freeze

Shlomo Witty ,

Smotrich (l) and Bennett (r)
Smotrich (l) and Bennett (r)
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

MK Bezalel Smotrich warned that his former political ally, Naftali Bennett, and the Yamina party could join forces with the center-left Yesh Atid faction and betray core right-wing principles.

In an interview with Israel Hayom, which will be published in its entirety on Friday, Smotrich reflected upon his political relationship with Naftali Bennett.

"I tried to get him to commit to a right-wing government after the election. I told him privately that it's not just to take care of the economy and livelihood, but he would not make such a commitment. He wanted maximum flexibility the day after, told me "At worst, we can split." For the sake of religious Zionism, I cannot commit to such a shaky arrangement."

"Bennett is saying what he means this time. He probably really thinks that all the values ​​and ideology of religious Zionism should be sidelined for four years, that we should give in to Biden's demands, that we should ignore younger settlements, that we should allow the Supreme Court to do as they please. Someone who will even consider an alliance with Lapid, Gantz, and Huldai will be no friend of religious Zionism."

He also cited reports according to which Naftali Bennett wanted to add Shmuel Aboav to the Yamina list. "For example, Shmuel Aboav, a longtime left-wing advocate, will oppose legitimizing settlements. When you put such figures on the list, you are no longer really campaigning for the religious Zionist sector."

To the question of whether it is still possible that they will run together, after all, Smotrich answers, "If Naftali returns to the values of our partnership, and understands that our mission is to carry the values ​​of the right and religious Zionism - then I am open. He left his home on the right in search of adventure, found it, and got hurt. I stayed at home, and am still waiting for him to return."



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