MK David Bitan
MK David Bitan Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Likud MK David Bitan continues to be pessimistic with regard to the future of the incoming government, even before it is formed, and is criticizing the Religious Zionism party's demands which he calls "over the top."

In an interview with Galei Yisrael Radio, Bitan said: "Smotrich is pushing things too far, and it's a very good thing that the Likud put a stop to it. We can't just give, give, and give some more. He doesn't just want positions in the government, he wants four Knesset committees, too. And he's not the only one - Shas and UTJ are also demanding a lot. They're all making exaggerated demands."

When asked if he spares most of his frustration for Religious Zionism, Bitan answered, "They only have seven seats." Nonetheless, he predicted that the government will be sworn in next week: "We will end up forming a government. There's no way it won't happen. But I can't promise that it will live out its term in office. There are going to be problems along the way, problems that sour the atmosphere. You want to know what I really think? I have no idea what's going to happen. I don't believe that this government will live out its term in office. When we were in the opposition, we gave in to all of their demands," he added.

Bitan also criticized Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu and his negotiating team: "They don't know how to negotiate. They should have realized that Smotrich was going to be so inflexible with tons of demands. This is natural for Religious Zionism; they've done it before. And we should have expected this given how things were done when we were in the opposition, when the Likud gave in all the time in order to preserve unity. That led Smotrich to believe that it would be the same after elections."

In an interview with Ynet Radio, Bitan claimed that the Defense, Finance, and Foreign Affairs portfolios must be held by the Likud since the party won 32 seats. "If you don't hold serious ministries, you really can't do anything," he said. "With all due respect, the position of Prime Minister is not enough. The Prime Minister decides on key issues of foreign affairs and defense, but other things are in the hands of the ministers, and that's important. We should have made it clear from the outset that these three ministries are not on the table."