Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel SmotrichIsrael National News

Two days before the elections for the Knesset, Religious Zionism chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich visited the Israel National News studio on Sunday to discuss the upcoming election, the infighting on the right, and more.

On Sunday, opposition head and Likud chairman MK Benjamin Netanyahu stated that votes for Ben-Gvir at the Likud's expense are votes for Yair Lapid. Smotrich says that he finds the statement hurtful. "This infighting is a mistake. We need to join hands as we've done over the past year and a half, and bring 61 seats so we can form a right-wing government. Netanyahu and the public know that what matters isn't the size of the ruling party, but the size of the bloc. The president gives the mandate to whoever has enough recommendations," says Smotrich.

"Netanyahu will be the next prime minister, the elections will decide one thing: what government will he be the head of. The left, the media, and the international community will run a huge campaign that will call on him to leave us out and take Benny Gantz instead. If we'll be bigger than Gantz that won't be an option," he explains. "If we'll be smaller than Gantz, G-d forbid, the Likud may be the ruling party, but with Gantz, such a government will certainly not fix the justice system, regulate the settlements, fight the Arab takeover of property, or regulate the governance in the Negev, Galil, and mixed cities. To get all that done we need a fully rightwing government and I believe that the public is smart enough to understand that."

Regarding the rise in popularity of his running-mate, MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, Smotrich says that he's happy that the public trusts their partnership. "Ben-Gvir's popularity is one of the more optimistic things in Israeli society. It shows that people are going back to normal. After years of politically correct brainwashing, the public is discovering its healthy instincts as a nation that returned to its land with national pride and honor, clearly marking who's a foe and who's a friend. I'm happy with this partnership and I hope we get a lot of votes."

On election night, the two main parties that make up Religious Zionism, Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit, will have two separate headquarters. Smotrich says that the decision was made in the beginning, to run two separate campaigns, to maximize the parties' strength. Will the two parties also hold separate coalition negotiations with Netanyahu? Smotrich alleges that the attempts to separate him from Ben-Gvir show a will to include Gantz in the government. "The negotiations will be coordinated," Smotrich ensures. "Itamar and I are friends and we will coordinate the best route to bring the outcome which is best for the citizens of Israel."

Smotrich was also asked about the fear that being part of a bloc with the haredi parties shows a concession to the haredim concerning matters of religion and state. He calls those claims "far-fetched" and explains: "I heard that there are those who are thinking of voting for Gantz because they agree with Matan Kahana's stance on religion and state, but it won't matter since Gantz will either be on the opposition or, as he claims, he's the only one who can bring the haredim, that is 'he will sell the haredim everything and Matan Kahana will be in charge of the public complaint committee."