Religious Zionist Party chairman Bezalel Smotrich lambasted Prime Minister Naftali Bennett Monday, blaming him for former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to form a new right-wing government.
Speaking with Reshet Bet Monday morning, Smotrich called his former political ally a “useful idiot” for the Left, and claimed that he ended his alliance with Bennett after the Yamina chairman signaled his interest in removing Netanyahu from power.
“Ever since the last election I haven’t been interviewed at all by the media, I’ve been up to my neck in working on trying to form a right-wing government.”
“I invested all of my time and energy into preventing the formation of a left-wing government relying on terror-supporters. I also met with Bennett. There were even drafts of [coalition] agreements, but Naftali torpedoed it.”
“I split with Bennett when he himself signaled that his goal was replacing Netanyahu, making him a friend of the Left.”
“I am a big critic of Netanyahu, but the hatred against Netanyahu is pathological. There is nothing holding this new government together besides this. Bennett is serving as a useful idiot. I can’t complain about the Left, people can think differently from me, everyone is doing what they think will help Israel.”
Smotrich pushed back on criticism from the Likud and the haredi parties over his refusal to back a Likud-led government relying on the United Arab List (Ra’am).
United Torah Judaism chief Moshe “Gafni wanted to rely on UAL’s votes, and that would have been even worse than what happened yesterday,” said Smotrich, referring to the formation of the national unity government Sunday.
“There is a big difference for the Right to legitimize sitting with the Arabs versus the Left doing so.”
“Yesterday, Bennett and [Gideon] Sa’ar weren’t satisfied with just the UAL, [Joint Arab List MK Ahmed] Tibi waited outside of the Knesset plenum – they agreed to form a government with the help of the Joint Arab List. And the Islamic Movement is even more dangerous. That is a party which undermines our existence.”