Smotrich meets with rabbis to get support for coalition demands
Smotrich meets with rabbis to get support for coalition demandsCourtesy

Religious Zionism chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich will meet with senior rabbis on Sunday evening, at the home of senior Religious Zionist rabbi and Or Etzion Yeshiva head Rabbi Chaim Druckman.

During the meeting, Smotrich will present the rabbis with an overview of the proceedings of the coalition negotiations with the Likud so far and will request their support in demanding the Defense, Education, and Religious Affairs portfolios.

Netanyahu is currently refusing to grant Smotrich the Defense Ministry, and Shas is refusing to accept the fact that Religious Zionism will control the Religious Affairs Ministry.

The rabbis are expected to grant Smotrich their full support ahead of pressure that Prime Minister-Elect Netanyahu is expected to apply in an attempt to force him to back away from his demands.

Of the rabbis who will be present at the meeting: Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, Rabbi Yehoshua Shapira, Rabbi David Dudkevitz, Rabbi Chaim Gantz, Rabbi Chananel Etrog, Rabbi Shimon Cohen, Rabbi David Hai Hakohen, Rabbi David Fendel, and Rabbi Yoel Manovitz.

Over the past few days, in light of the option that he may be appointed as the next Defense Minister, Smotrich spoke with six retired IDF generals and heard their advice. According to Kan 11, Smotrich also spoke with a few of them about the option of them becoming Defense Ministry CEO.

Earlier Sunday, the Religious Zionist chief met with the chairman of the Shas party, MK Aryeh Deri, after coalition talks aimed at forming a right-wing government under Benjamin Netanyahu hit a snag over the weekend. After leaving the meeting Smotrich remarked that the meeting was "excellent", adding that it was not the first and will not be the last.