Bezalel Smotrich: Netanyahu will have no excuses

Religious Zionism chairman: We will make Netanyahu do things he has not done all these years.

Ben Ariel ,

Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel Smotrich
Marc Israel Sellem/Jerusalem Post

The chairman of the Religious Zionism party, MK Bezalel Smotrich, spoke on Thursday with journalist Yaki Adamker at the Jerusalem Post and Maariv's 2021 Election Conference.

Smotrich declared, "We will go with the national camp, I have been saying this from the first day we embarked on this election campaign. Naftali [Bennett] and I parted exactly over this background. It was clear to me that we belong to the national camp. Unfortunately, Naftali decided he is striving for a government with the left. We will only sit in a right-wing government."

Turning to the Yamina and New Hope parties, he said, "Put aside the personal difference and put the people of Israel and the good of the State of Israel at the center. This is a historic opportunity, which we have not had for years, to establish a right-wing government without the left."

"We can make the corrections in the justice system and address what matters. I call on Naftali to take the finance portfolio in a right-wing national government. It will be a government that will be happy to address the economic challenges."

According to Smotrich, "Netanyahu is not the issue, but rather the right-wing public in Israel. The only one who can head the national camp today is Netanyahu because he heads the Likud, which is the largest party."

"I say to [Ze’ev] Elkin, look me in the eye, are you ready to drag Israel to a fifth election or turn Merav Michaeli and Nitzan Horowitz into senior ministers just because Netanyahu appointed you Minister of Water? There is criticism of Netanyahu, he is far from perfect. I will try to get Netanyahu to do things that he has not done all these years. Netanyahu will have no excuses."

"He has made a tremendous contribution to Israel, look what he did with the vaccines, but I have a lot of criticism of him. He missed four years of opportunity during the Trump administration," continued Smotrich. "The Prime Minister is not campaigning for me, but he understands that without Religious Zionism there is no government. Anyone who wants a Likud government with the haredi parties, a government that will take out the infiltrators and deal with gangs in the Negev and the Galilee, must have Religious Zionism in the Knesset, without which this will not happen and Yair Lapid will be Prime Minister."

Asked if he would prefer a fifth election over entering a government with Bennett and Sa’ar, if Netanyahu does not get the required number of seats, he replied, "I will not be the one dragging [Israel to a fifth election], it will be Sa’ar, Elkin, Yifat Shasha Bitton who will do it. They are all right-wing and I want to see them looking their voters in the eye [if they refuse to join a right-wing government]. Religious Zionism will not turn its back on its partners in the national camp. In the national camp there is more Judaism, an affinity for tradition, Zionism and nationalism. We will not go to any government without the national camp."