Minister Bezalel Smotrich
Minister Bezalel SmotrichChaim Goldberg/Flash90

In a column to be published in the Friday edition of Makor Rishon, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich speaks about the conscription law and the requirement for the haredim to share in the public responsibility.

"If there is someone who knows how to conscript all the haredim tomorrow, raise your hand. If there is anyone who believes that after the next elections, Gantz will not give the haredim a hundred-year exemption in some Israel-bluff legislation, if they agree to betray Netanyahu and form a government with him – I have a house to sell him on the moon,” says Smotrich.

"It is as if the exemption for haredi conscription started only a year ago, when I first joined the coalition with the haredi parties as the head of the party. As if this is the first term in which the religious Zionism party is sitting in the same coalition with the haredim. As if the previous government, which served for more than a year without a single haredi, took even one step towards the conscription of haredim," he added.

He emphasized that despite the differences in opinions – the partnership with the haredi parties must not be severed over the recruitment dispute.

“We have a major disagreement with the haredim on the conscription issue, but it would be a grave mistake to break the political alliance with them over it. In the past year, as Minister of Finance, I have taken significant steps to promote the integration of haredim in the army and the job market. I have repeatedly said that such a coalition with the haredim can and should be an opportunity to work together. The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) data from three weeks ago shows a sharp increase in the participation of haredi men in the employment market, a trend that, if it continues, will herald the arrival of the necessary change. I believe that this will also be the case with regard to service in the IDF and I am doing as much as possible to encourage this change. I try to present the claim for partnership to the haredi public from a heartfelt sentiment, as a moral, Torah, Jewish and national claim, and not as a place of attacking, and as such I believe that this will be accepted and will be much more productive than threats of fire and criticism, even if they are extremely justified."

"I believe that our political alliance with the national camp, including the Likud and the haredim, is the right thing for religious Zionists and for the country. Of course, we do not boycott anyone and have nothing against forming broader governments. So far this has not happened because of boycotts from the other side, both on the Likud and Netanyahu, and on us. As in any political alliance, we must make compromises and there is mutual give and take. It is not perfect and it requires a lot of patience and perseverance. But, in the end, it works and we are making progress in all areas. During the previous term we experienced the alternative – a partnership with Israel's enemies and the radical left, which despises religious Zionism, which is far from any flavor of Judaism and is estranged from the Land of Israel," he concluded.