In an interview with Israel National News, Religious Zionism party chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich discussed the union between the Jewish Home and Ayelet Shaked, the ongoing negotiations between him and Noam chairman Avi Maoz, those who consider him "not normal", and Zehava Galon's comments comparing his comments to the Nuremberg laws.
Regarding the union between Shaked and the Jewish home, Smotrich said: "They have no chance of passing the electoral threshold. It's risking losing votes and losing right-wing power. Remember, the cause of the chaos and the bad government which we're suffering from now, was Bennett and Shaked's 'adventure' when they created the New Right during the first round of elections. They didn't pass the threshold, and they wasted nearly four right-wing seats, and if not for that irresponsible adventure we would be in the middle of a full and long term of a totally right-wing government which would do a lot of good things for Israel."
According to him, "If [Shaked's] words are honest and she's really on the right, and if she understands that a right-wing government is what's right and good for the state of Israel, her contribution, which may right some wrongs, would be if she pulled out of the race instead of wasting right-wing votes. Whoever reads the polls can see that she has no chance of passing the threshold."
Is his expectation that Shaked pulls out more realistic than of any other politician, being that such a step is almost unheard of in Israeli politics? Smotrich refuses to accept the assumption that all politicians are driven by ego. "It's true that a lot of the mess that we're in was caused by politicians such as Gideon Sa'ar who refused to set aside personal rivalries and see the good of the nation. I'm not ready to accept the statement that all politicians are driven by ego and hunger for power. That's what corrupts politics and endangers Israel."
Smotrich notes that members of his party proved that they were able to give up desired positions during the past two governments, in order not to give up on their ideologies, not whitewash supporters of terror, and not join a leftist government. "We paid personally, and woe to the politician who puts their interest before that of the state. It's harmful and dangerous, and this past year showed us how low things can go." In his opinion, it is important that the public sees and understands who puts their personal interests above those of the State and who does not.
On Tuesday, Smotrich met with Noam chairman MK Avi Maoz, in an attempt to achieve a joint run. Smotrich is careful not to expose details from the discussions but clarifies: "Avi Maoz is a partner and we want him to come and we invite him with an open heart. The situation that we're in is partially his fault, before we signed with Ben Gvir, we made an offer to Avi Moaz and Noam, we explained that after signing with Ben Gvir it would be more complex to sign with him, but Avi for his own reasons decided not to sign then. We are reserving the 11th spot on the list, which according to all of the polls is realistic, for them, and if we work hard we'll bring even more seats.
Noam's main platform is the fight against progressive beliefs, and nothing will harm that fight more than a left-wing government with supporters of terror. It will harm Israel and Jewish values, and nothing will contribute to Jewish identity more than if the nationalist camp returns to running the country. Whoever thinks of running alone because of ideology takes on a lot of responsibility, and I hope Avi answers my request and joins."
Smotrich clarifies that the discussions with Maoz are coordinated with Ben Gvir, as agreed on between the two parties, who agreed to keep the 11th place open for the Noam. When asked why he doesn't offer Noam a higher spot on the list if he's so sure that the 11th spot is realistic, Smotrich answers that he doesn't feel that it's correct or moral to push a serving MK who was elected in the primaries to a lower spot for Maoz, but immediately after the party's first five spots, he saved one for him. "The goal isn't one specific person or one specific party, but rather to save the state of Israel."
We also asked Smotrich to discuss the tag that he has received as an "abnormal religious person". "I don't get shaken up by cynical politicians anymore. The left started this when they took the word 'peace' and turned it into terror, violence, and exploding buses. They took a government that relies on supporters of terror and called it 'unity'. They take terms and skew them. Now they are taking the important concept of statesmanship and are skewing it to refer to supposed tyranny and whoever doesn't stay in line with them is unstatesmanlike and can be shot. Some are trying to appropriate important concepts and are demonizing their friends. I am happy to see that according to the polls there's a large percentage of the public that trusts us and doesn't buy their baloney."
He says that the Religious Zionism slate represents a wide spectrum of positions and the gamut of opinions within the religious-Zionist sector.
When asked if he is personally insulted by the term "abnormal religious person", Smotrich answers: "I don't take it personally. I don't need anyone to grade me, certainly not anyone who sits with supporters of terror or changes parties like they change their socks, people whose words have no value. Religious Zionism is first and foremost a path, values, a vision, and integrity, all the things that were forgotten in a government full of lies."
Regarding Meretz chairperson Zehava Galon's comments comparing his statements about the Arab parties to the Nuremberg Laws, Smotrich states: "This also shows how the left has lost its way. Liberman can compare Netanyahu to Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, and Galon can compare my remarks to the Nuremberg Laws." He notes that section 7a of the Knesset law states that whoever supports terror and armed resistance against Israel and denies that Israel is a Jewish and democratic state can not run for Knesset. "This isn't my decision, it's the law, and the Supreme Court constantly changes the law's wording and whitewashes the people who push the Arab community to conflict instead of bringing it to integration. The Arab community is harmed the most by this."
"The crime that consumes every good part of the Arab community is nationalistic from its roots since it's based on the denial of the state's authority and right to exist. When Arabs are raised on the denial of the state's authority they for sure won't obey its laws and they are the main victims."
When asked if he'll sue Galon for her comments, Smotrich answers that he doesn't feel that she's worth the effort. "It will only build her up."
On coming to terms with MK Ben Gvir, Smotrich says that in general, this month is tense due to it being a month of negotiations, but now everything's behind them and there's no more tension.