Chair of the Religious Zionist Party Bezalel Smotrich
Chair of the Religious Zionist Party Bezalel SmotrichSderot conference - Kay Academic College

Smotrich is not a child.

He is fighting stubbornly to separate the Civil Admnistration, the body that controls life in Judea and Samaria, but really euphemism for Defense Ministry control of civil life in Judea and Samaria, from the Defense Department.

He knows that if the minister of defense continues to have authority over civil affairs in Judea and Samaria, and Smotrich isn't the Defense Minister, that literally every promise made by Binyamin Netanyahu to his coalition partners regarding Judea and Samaria can be rendered worthless.

The DM has absolute authority to approve or refuse to approve the construction of every square centimeter.

The DM also effectively determines the extent to which there is active enforcement of the law against illegal Arab construction in Area C. Let alone improving the dangeorus roads, no matter what the Transportation Minister decides

The same talking heads who today are attacking Smotrich for insisting that he either serves as DM or that authority for civil affairs in Judea and Samaria be transferred to the Ministry of Finance with Smotrich holding that portfolio will later ridicule him for being a patsy if he gives in only to find that the DM Netanyahu appoints institutes a building freeze for Jews and continues the hands-off illegal Arab construction policy of DM Gantz.

One can still hold out hope that Binyamin Netanyahu is simply going through the motions to prove to the Americans and others that he tried his best to neutralize Smotrich but found himself left to choose between another round of elections and ceding to Smotrich's demand.

If that is the case Netanyahu will be able to have his cake and eat it to.

When talking to foreign leaders Netanyahu can explain that he wanted a freeze but his hands were tied.

And when election are held again in a few years Netanyahu can take credit for the Jewish construction and control of illegal Arab construction.

Dr. Aaron Lernerand his late father Dr. Joseph Lerner founded the Independent Media Review and Analysis (IMRA) government accredited news organization in 1992,which provides an ongoing analysis of developments in Arab-Israeli relations.