Prime Minister Netanyahu appeals to MK Bezalel Smotrich: Help prevent 5th elections

Netanyahu asked Religious Zionism party chairman Bezalel Smotrich to support his bid for direct elections for Prime Minister.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel Smotrich
Olivier FItoussi/Flash90

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met today (Tuesday) with chairman of the Religious Zionism party, MK Bezalel Smotrich, in an effort to persuade him to support direct election for Prime Minister or at least not interfere with the United Arab List (Ra'am's) support on the issue at hand.

According to reports, in contrast to previous meetings between the two, Netanyahu abandoned attempts to persuade Smotrich to agree to a government that would rely on outside support from Ra'am.

Later in the day, Netanyahu attacked Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett, demanding Bennett's public pledge of support for the initiative.

"We do not need to dissolve the Knesset or a fifth round of elections," said the Prime Minister. "All we need is a quick referendum and to let the people decide who will lead the country. I will accept any result and hope that others will do the same," he affirmed.

"This can be done the moment Bennett gives the green light. If he supports this proposal, we have a majority. There is no reason against it. He promised to sit in a right-wing government instead of going with Lapid, Meretz, and the left. I met with him several times and offered him a senior government post. Unfortunately, although I received a mandate from the president to form a right-wing coalition, Bennett is negotiating with the left at the same time as he's doing so with us," continued Netanyahu.

"This means that just because of personal ambitions to become prime minister with [just] seven seats, Bennett is not allowing us to form a stable right-wing government. This was on display again last night when Yamina voted in support of the left. If he really wants a way out of this mess, he can easily announce his supports for direct elections [and get this over with]," he added