Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel Smotrich Photo by Sraya Diamant/Flash90

Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Yamina) explained on Monday morning why his party had decided not to join the coalition led by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

In an interview with Kalman Liebskind and Asaf Liberman, Smotrich said: "I want to have my hand on the switch, in many areas. This is going to be a very complex government, and we want the ability to do things, and to have an influence."

He added that the issue of handling the illegal Bedouin settlements was entrusted to Labor's MK Amir Peretz. "We asked to receive the national unit for construction supervision in order to slow the pace," he explained.

Regarding the judicial issues, Smotrich added: "We want the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee in order to control the tap. The Justice Ministry will be in the hands of [Blue and White MK Avi] Nissenkorn, so we asked to return to the draft that we had previously, that a ministerial committee will approve the State's responses to the Supreme Court."

"We're not willing to wake up in another year to rulings like there were with Amona and Netiv Ha'avot. We understand the complexity, but we cannot take responsibility without any way to have an influence."

Slamming Netanyahu's decisions in the judicial arena, Smotrich called him "the one who sold the Justice Ministry to Avi Nissenkorn, the one who signed bluff agreement regarding the Judicial Selection Committee, which it's clear will not stand up to the Supreme Court's [test]."

"During the 20th Knesset, we fought the entire time to pass the Override Clause, and Netanyahu prevented it. If we don't receive the ability to do good things, we won't be able to be part of the coalition.

"The entire time the Likud was negotiating with Blue and White, we warned that the Justice Ministry should not be given to Blue and White. It didn't have to happen. Netanyahu should have demanded some very significant things for the right-wing camp."

Smotrich also rejected the claims that the reason his party did not join the coalition was due to disagreements regarding who would receive which portfolio.

"The question of what I will or won't be isn't important. I don't negotiate over the radio. We get along excellently among ourselves, and we're not demanding three portfolios. We tried to map out the dangers as much as possible. We want significant portfolios so that we can negotiate. We are looking for portfolios which have value, which are important to other coalition partners," he explained.

"If they don't give us the ability to fight for our beliefs within the coalition, then we will do it from outside the coalition, and we can present a worthy alternative government."