Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel SmotrichYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

The chairman of the Religious Zionist Party, Bezalel Smotrich, who met with the chairman of Shas, Aryeh Deri, repeated his demand to receive the Finance Ministry or the Defense Ministry, but told Deri that he accepts the fact that Deri "takes precedence" over him when it comes to the Finance Ministry. That means that if Deri wants the Finance Ministry, Smotrich is ready to give in, though he will still continue to demand the Defense Ministry.

According to a report on Tuesday by Channel 13 News’ Raviv Drucker, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu wants to give Deri the Finance Ministry and Smotrich is willing to give it up, and Deri finds himself afraid of being in the position of the "bad guy", who could very likely have to confront all the sectors of society on whose behalf he normally make demands. As Finance Minister, he will have to say "no" to them from time to time.

In the meantime, the biggest and most essential controversy related to the government is the Override Clause. United Torah Judaism chairman Moshe Gafni, Itamar Ben Gvir and Smotrich want to introduce the clause immediately and that it be as broad as possible, while Deri says that it is not required now and that the new government can start working and discuss the question of how to implement the Override Clause later. Prime Minister-designate Netanyahu is still debating the issue.

Earlier it was reported that the Religious Zionist, Shas, and United Torah Judaism parties are demanding in their coalition negotiations with Netanyahu that the Law of Return be modified to prevent non-halakhic Jews from using it to immigrate to Israel.

The demand is to remove the “grandfather clause,” which allows anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent to move to Israel and receive immediate Israeli citizenship.

Under halakha, a person is only considered Jewish if they have a Jewish mother or if they undergo the conversion process. The “grandfather clause,” which was based on the Nazis' targeting anyone who had even one Jewish grandparent, thereby allows people who are non-Jews according to halakha to take advantage of the Law of Return, a situation which the haredi parties and Religious Zionist Party wish to put a stop to.

A Likud official told Channel 13 News that this is a demand that could incite the wrath of the Jewish communities in the Diaspora, in particular in the United States and the countries of the former Soviet Union.