MK Smotrich
MK SmotrichFlash 90

Religious Zionism party chairman and Finance Minister-designate Bezalel Smotrich penned an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday addressing criticism of the incoming Israeli government and several of the coalition parties, including his own, as far-right and anti-democratic.

According to Smotrich, far from the vilification he and the new government have received in the American media, Israel's next government will work to expand individual freedoms and will in fact move Israel closer to the American economic and judicial models.

"Israel is a Jewish and democratic state and will remain so," he wrote. "As finance minister, I will pursue a broad free-market policy. This includes removing the government price controls and import restrictions that have limited competition and kept consumer prices high, as well as regulatory reforms and a loosening of bureaucratic control over small businesses. Inspired by U.S. right-to-work laws, we will pursue similar measures to reduce union control in Israel’s labor force."

Addressing concerns that the incoming government would impose religious coercion on Israel's secular populations, Smotrich said that "We wish only to increase the freedom of religious people to participate in the public sphere in accordance with their faith, without coercion on secular people."

He gave an example of beaches where men and women are separated, which would give more religious people the chance to go to the beach while not affecting the far greater number of beaches with no separation between genders for the rest of the population.

On his plans to transfer the authority over the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria from the Civil Administration to the government ministries, Smotrich said that this move does not "entail changing the political or legal status of the area" and that it will improve the rights and freedoms of the residents and, who have been living under a military administration for decades.

He further said that the proposed judicial reforms of the new government would put Israel's Supreme Court more in line with the American Supreme Court by removing the court's veto power over the appointment of new Supreme Court justices and by limiting the powers of non-elected officials such as government prosecutors and the attorney general.

"All Americans should appreciate the wisdom and justice in these plans. They should shed their preconceptions and unite to support the resurgence of accountable government, prosperity, individual rights, and democracy in the Jewish homeland," Smotrich concluded.