Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel SmotrichHadas Parush/Flash90

Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home – National Union) excoriated Yisrael Beytenu chief Avidgor Liberman Thursday morning, calling him “dangerous” and “irresponsible”, after Liberman declared that new elections were inevitable, and rejected the possibility of forming a narrow right-wing government with the Likud.

“Liberman is a dangerous man, cynical and irresponsible,” Smotrich told Radio Kol Chai Thursday morning. “He’s been in the [political] system for 30 years yet has nothing in his name.”

Responding to Liberman’s recent interview with Yediot Ahronot in which the Yisrael Beytenu chairman said that he would not join a right-wing government and that new elections – Israel’s third in less than a year – were now inevitable, Smotrich said the right-wing bloc would “work hard” to find an alternate path to a 61-MK majority in the Knesset. The Knesset has until next Wednesday night to select a new premier. If no candidate can secure the support of 61 MKs, the 22nd Knesset will be dissolved and new elections scheduled.

“I never pretended to understand [Liberman]. We will have to work hard to try to get to 61 MKs without him.”

With the prospect of new elections looming, Smotrich called for the formation of a united national-religious list for the Knesset.

“As we get closer to new elections, I again call for a broad union on the religious Right.”

On Wednesday, MK Miki Zohar, the leader of the Likud negotiating team, said there is no longer any chance of forming a unity government with the Blue and White party.

"This is a finished story. There is no point in continuing to spend energy on contacts with Blue and White," Zohar said in an interview with Arutz Sheva. "They do not want to form a government with us. I suggest that while there is still time before the Knesset dissolves, we strive to establish a right-wing government with 63 MKs with Liberman. But the chances for that are low as well."