Coalition chairman MK Miki Zohar of the Likud party visited the Samarian community of Beit El on Sunday and spoke with Arutz Sheva on his impressions of where the political situation in the country is headed.
“I hate to say this, but it looks very much like we’re headed for elections,” Zohar said. “We have not succeeded in reaching an agreement with the Blue & White party on the matter of the budget, and the deadline is fast approaching. If we don’t pass the 2020 state budget by December 23, and if we don’t get moving fast, we’re almost certainly going to end up with elections at the end of next March. I still entertain the hope that Blue & White will come to their senses and we’ll be able to avoid that, but if that doesn’t happen, I am confident that we’ll win the next elections, because people in the country know what a good job the Prime Minister is doing,” he said.
Asked about the possibility of the government falling for a different reason – that of the cancellation of the unity government’s coalition agreement – Zohar was slightly more optimistic. “The Supreme Court should know better than to meddle in political agreements,” he said, referring to the Court’s demand that the government explain the rationale behind its amendment of a Basic Law allowing for the appointment of an “Alternate Prime Minister,” now Benny Gantz, which persuaded the Blue & White party to join the government. “If they do decide to intervene, they’ll be making a very big mistake. They should realize that political reality necessitates various parties coming to agreements, and Knesset members – who, after all, represent the people – have to make tough decisions and come to understandings. This really has nothing to do with the judiciary, and I hope they come to accept that – for their own sakes as well as ours.”
If elections really are on the horizon, the question of alliances immediately comes to mind, and Zohar is, as ever, pragmatic. “It’s no secret that there’s no love lost between Naftali Bennett and the Prime Minister,” he said. “But with politics, it’s a question of a professional working relationship. Yes, Bennett has said that ‘the whole country is suffering due to Netanyahu’s focus on his personal interests.’ But there’s no need for them to be close friends in order to cooperate in the world of politics. All that they need to be able to do is reach certain understandings and make certain decisions – the ones that are right for the country.”
Alluding to recent poll results that have shown an astonishing ascent of the Yamina party, headed by MK Bennett, seemingly at the expense of a Likud party in decline, Zohar said, “I expect to see those currently in the Bennett camp returning to their natural home in the Likud. The Likud is the natural home for everyone on the right wing. No other party has any guarantee of being able to achieve concrete results.
“I’ve heard proposals being floated of a government being formed without the Likud party or the haredi parties,” he added. “Of course it’s possible that Yesh Atid, Meretz, Blue & White, and maybe even the Joint List might attempt something like that – and I haven’t heard Bennett ruling it out,” he noted.
Turning to the impact of current events in the United States, Zohar noted what others have also stressed – that the likelihood of Joe Biden being sworn in as President in a matter of weeks means that Israel’s alleged “window of opportunity” to take advantage of a relatively sympathetic Trump administration is rapidly closing.
“What we need to focus on right now is the application of sovereignty over Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley,” Zohar said. “We may never get such an opportunity again, as we don’t know what to expect from the incoming American administration.
“This is something that really comes home to me here, in Beit El,” he added. “It is truly moving to be here, to see the Land of Israel up-close, and to be reminded that this is our Land and that the truth is on our side. This is where we have to be planting our roots, deep into the Land, so that no one can come afterward and deny our heritage and our historical rights. This Land is ours for all eternity.”