Incoming Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich, chairman of the National Union party, is unfazed by the uproar that was created after he said that Israel should be governed by Torah law, as in the days of Kings David and Solomon.
"This whole ‘halakhic state’ thing is an imaginary demonization campaign,” Smotrich said in an interview with Yehuda Schlesinger of the Israel Hayom newspaper, stressing that he does not regret the comments he made.
"I have no regrets on this issue. It happened the same week of the Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem. If they are allowed to proudly carry the flags that I see as distorted, their bad values – then I am also allowed to carry my flags at least with the same pride and power."
Smotrich described some of his plans at the Transportation Ministry. "I'm going to Judaize the Galilee. If I am Transportation Minister in the next few years, I will build a network of roads, complete a revolution, so that hundreds of thousands of Jews will come to live in the Galilee.”
"With the help of God, if I continue as Transportation Minister, I will make sure that in the next five-year plan there will be a meaningful master plan that looks further on Judea and Samaria, where there are another half a million people, and which includes trains, roads and interchanges. Anyone who thinks that settlement in Judea and Samaria is a threat to peace should be afraid,” he added.
As for the possibility of a union within the right, and the possibility that Ayelet Shaked will head a united list, the chairman of the National Union said, "I do not think it's right to conduct this negotiation in the media. I think Rabbi Rafi [Peretz] is excellent, he was the leader, he has to be the leader, but I do not decide on my own or impose my opinion. I want us all to go into the room, put aside our past differences and disputes, and think only of the good of the matter."
Smotrich rejected the possibility of being part of a government with the Blue and White party. "Gantz is a leftist, period. It's left on the political level, the economics level, on settlement, security and Jewish identity. We have to be careful about being too choosy, we have already forgotten what a leftist government is, what it’s like when buses are blowing up all over Israel. We forgot what a reckless economic policy is - the deficit that exists now is not even a fraction of the deficit created by the Rabin governments. May we not be reminded of what a leftist government looks like."
He also blasted Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman. "Liberman is not a rightist. He has no ideology, no path. He torpedoed the establishment of a dream government and acted irresponsibly because of personal and populist considerations. He turned the issue of the Draft Law into a halakhic government. What is the connection between this law and a halakhic government?! It is populism that belittles the intelligence of the public.”
"There is a certain segment of the public that are excited by hatred of Judaism and haredim. So he decided to fight. Liberman is a dangerous, irresponsible man who for 30 years has left no mark and created no significant process in the State of Israel. One of the goals of the elections is for this man to disappear from the political landscape of the State of Israel," stated Smotrich.