I, Betzalel am writing to you about the possible destruction that may befall everything we care so dearly about.
There are those on the right that at this moment are trying to brainwash us. They are trying to engineer our thought process for personal gain while causing a catastrophe for the right wing bloc. These developments reflect blindness and a short-term view, which prefers narrow interests, local and immediate, and does not consider their broader, long-term destructive consequences.
The first is the process of white washing the Ra'am party of Mansour Abbas as a legitimate partner in the formation of a coalition in order to prevent a worse alternative of passing the government to the Left. Many have spoken of Ra'am as a party which supports terror and denies the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. Ra'am is the enemy, and an enemy is not a legitimate partner in any way. Basing a government on the hopes of restraining supporters of terror undermines the fundamental principles of Zionism and democracy of The Jewish State.
But more serious and dangerous than this, creating a government based on Ra'am will create two parallel developments, and this combination is nothing less than a disaster for the State of Israel: an increase in the voting rate of Israeli Arabs, (for they are the ones who crown the Prime Minister, and will receive many premier jobs and gifts to show the Israeli Arab population) and their transformation into a legitimate partner, who will naturally in the long run become part of the Left Wing. (Abbas now wants to join the Right only to put a finger in the eye of the Joint Arab List. In the long run, the Arabs will join the Left as a force.)
The clear reality is that even if in the short run, relying on supporters of terror will allow the continuance of a right-wing government, immediately thereafter, the Right will lose control. In the next Knesset, there will be 18-20 Arab members, who will join with the Left and will give them control for many years to come. Such a Left-Arab government will erase any of the achievements of a short-term Right-wing government instantaneously, destroy the principles of the Jewish state, create an Arab terror states and on and on. Those who in the long term want to preserve a right-wing government, Judea and Samaria, Torah study, and the Jewish identity of the State, must oppose turning supporters of terror into a legitimate coalition partner. He who brings them into the fold to preserve the right-wing government today, will lose the right-wing government tomorrow. An enemy cannot be a legitimate partner. Period.
It appears that Netanyahu and the haredi parties have begun to recognize this evil, and that Bennett with dreams of being Prime Minister is forgetting about the repercussions.
In Bennett’s path to the premiership lays another treacherous roadblock.
Bennett looks to create a government with the left and the Arabs. He plans on marketing it as a great achievement for the Right, giving preference to the right on certain issues - he would serve as the Prime Minister first in the rotation with Lapid, and would retain some of the important government positions.
In order not to cooperate with the extreme Left of Meretz and especially of the Arab parties, Bennett has tried and will try to bring in the haredi parties in their place. He will threaten them that if they remain in the opposition, they will suffer from budgetary reductions, and on the other hand, will promise them everything in order to prevent the shame of relying on the supporters of terror.
If he succeeds, theoretically it would be a great achievement for the right. It will take us out of the political dead end we are stuck in, prevent a fifth election, and will preserve the interests of the right.
This approach ignores the long term effects and focuses on immediate gratification.
Such a government would be a disaster in the intermediate and long term. The second that this government is formed, and Netanyahu is overthrown, the extreme, and anti-religious left of Merav Michaeli, Avigdor Liberman and Nitzan Horowitz (Labor, Yisrael Beytenu and Meretz) will come with a long list of demands for “mister right”, Naftali Bennett which will put us at an impasse.
For many years, the Israeli right has built a connection between the traditional Likud community, the Religious Zionists, and the haredim. The story now is not Netanyahu. It is about this agreement, and the significance of its breakup. It is based on the shared values between these communities. These shared values have allowed them to form coalitions for years, which have advanced the values of Judaism, Zionism, sovereignty, reform of the judicial system and more.
These shared values simply do not exist in the Israeli left who vote for Lapid, Labor, Meretz and Liberman. It’s clear that a connection with the Left would be very temporary, held together only by the fragile shared values of political ambition and the desire to replace Netanyahu. It deals only with issues on which there is agreement. In any event, it will not survive for long, and will crumble with the first challenge it faces, whether that be national security, a High Court ruling on Judaism, Judea and Samaria, or any other issue which is bound to come up.
But at that point, after this makeshift and backwards coalition collapses, the damage done by those politicians to their supporters will have already been done. The feeling of betrayal felt by more than a million people who voted for Netanyahu and the Likud will be hard to undo. At Likud’s and Netanyahu’s most challenging times, when the entire system enlisted in a war against its long-time commander in chief, significant players (Saar and Bennett) in that contract were unfaithful, turned their backs, and broke bread with the other side of the political spectrum to take down Likud’s accomplished leader. A community that is hurt and sold out will look to make new connections, with the non-religious and secular, leaving the Religious Zionist and Charedi “on the outs” along with all of their values.
In trying to promote himself politically, Bennett is really causing a restructuring of the political map and coalitions. This does not end in Politics; it extends to the connections between different communities in Israel. And in the new order of political discourse, the Religious Zionist and Charedi communities are likely to stand alone and in the minority for many years to come. We will mourn from the damage that will be caused to the State of Israel and everything we believe in. It is likely to cost us a Palestinian State, the uprooting of tens of thousands of Jewish homes, the destruction of Torah learning and Jewish identity of the country plus whatever else the progressive left in Israel can conjure up.
In other words, Bennett is moving to separate the traditional Right wing, Nationalist, religious bloc and it’s doubtful that this union will be able to renew itself. All of this in the name of a temporary, makeshift change entirely based on replacing Netanyahu, after which there will be no common values shared with the extreme left and nothing to show for.
This while all the onlookers applaud the newly crowned King on his political prowess and his ability to transform his poor outcome in the elections into becoming Prime Minister, and at the same time supposedly not compromising on any right-wing issues, without paying attention to the fact that he himself is crippling the right wing.
Bennett’s impulsivity is irresponsible and short-sighted. It appears his self-promotion, which knows no bounds is compromising his judgement and is likely to a bring about a treacherous time for the traditional Right Wing, Nationalist, Religious bloc.
Behind the scenes Bennett is actively working to thwart all efforts to enjoin Gideon Sa'ar to a Right-Wing Nationalist government and is trying by way of Sa'ar’s refusal (which he himself is responsible for) to establish cause for taking apart the Right-Wing bloc, and for an irresponsible deal with the Left Wing.
Bennett fully understands that he is responsible for the forming of a left-wing government, or in his words “the deciding factor”, and therefore has a lot of political weight. In contrast, if our efforts to bring Saar into a right-wing government succeed, Saar will be the “deciding factor”, and will hold the political weight, and Naftali will be taken hostage to join a right wing, idealistic government where he will be accorded political strength based upon his results in the election (6.21%, or 7 out of 120 seats).
Because Bennett prefers to be Prime Minister in a left-wing government as opposed to a fully right wing, nationalist government where he will lose the spotlight to Netanyahu and Saar, he is busy trying to stop the right wing, nationalist bloc from bringing Gideon Saar into the fold.
I, Betzalel Smotrich have worked closely with Naftali coming on eight years and am writing this as a fact, not a presumption. This was the backdrop for the disagreement between the two of us before the elections which led to our separation. During the course of the campaign when I stated that Bennett is headed towards a left- wing government, Bennett and his supporters claimed that I am trying to tarnish their party in the name of political gain and am lying through my teeth. Unfortunately, it has come to everyone’s attention based upon their actions that I was correct.
I intend to stop these two dangerous developments with all my power. I will not sign onto a government that will allow enemies of the state to be legitimate partners or left-wing rule. With that same conviction I will not allow the Religious Zionists to betray our natural partners in the Likud party and right wing, nationalist bloc. I am in constant contact and am overjoyed at their understanding of their party heads of this very delicate situation and with God’s help I will continue to do all that I can to ensure that the right wing will not lose its way and do something they will regret for years to come.
If Bennett goes on this adventure, he will go alone. Meanwhile, the Right Wing, Nationalist, Religious bloc will stay united and committed to one another even in the opposition. The creature that will come of Bennett’s wild ride if he does not come to a halt while he still can will meet its end very soon and disappear, after which the right wing will come to a full accounting for his actions in the next elections, and the Right Wing, Nationalist, Religious bloc will once again rise to power.
I sincerely ask from everyone involved. Please make decisions that consider Israel’s future. In the near term we are all worried about losing control to Bennett and the Left Wing, thus we are drawn to make decisions that although they may serve us in the here and now, in the future would make for a catastrophe. We cannot and will not make decisions without looking at their repercussions. In order to hold onto what is most near and dear to our souls and hearts we must not commit these two transgressions. One, no to recognizing supporters of terror against the Jewish people and State of Israel as legitimate partners, and two, no to taking apart and betraying the right wing, nationalist bloc. This is what is asked of us with an outlook on Israel’s long term, and with G-d’s help we will be successful.