Smotrich Puts It in Writing for Netanyahu

YERUSHALAYIM -
MK Bezalel Smotrich gives a press statement in Knesset, on April 04, 2021. (Olivier FItoussi/Flash90)

Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich has been saying it ever since the March 23 elections. Now he’s put his position in writing.

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and New Hope chairman Gideon Sa’ar on Wednesday, Smotrich urged them to work out a compromise for a government together that would not rely on the Ra’am (United Arab List) party of MK Mansour Abbas.

“If you do not know how to get along with each other, the decision will go to your enemies, the supporters of terrorism, who deny the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish state,” Smotrich wrote.

“I call and plead with you from the bottom of my heart: Give this good nation an Independence Day gift, and meet today,” Smotrich said.

Then he added something that he may not have said before: “I promise in advance to support any arrangement that you reach,” said Smotrich in the letter. “It is in your hands to save the state of Israel. Do not miss this moment,” he wrote, according to Arutz Sheva.

Earlier on Wednesday, it was reported that efforts to form Israel’s next government continued as talks between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Yamina leader MK Naftali Bennett were described as “positive,” but a solution to reach a coalition of 61 MKs still remains out of reach.

According to Yisrael Hayom, Netanyahu’s Likud party believes that persuading Religious Zionism leader Betzalel Smotrich to join a government leaning on the Ra’am party votes is the safest bet to form a coalition.

All other routes have been exhausted as Gideon Sa’ar, head of the New Hope party, “is deep in his revenge campaign,” Likud sources were quoted as saying in the report.

“We can offer him anything other than a rotation [as Prime Minister] – every possible post, including a return to the Likud. Nothing interests him,” the sources added.

Efforts to attract any so-called “defectors” from other parties, such as Blue and White, were thus far fruitless, the report added.

On the prospect of Smotrich agreeing to a government backed by Ra’am, hard-right MK Itamar Ben-Gvir said it was not possible.

The Religious Zionism member asserted that “when Mansour Abbas was asked to condemn terror activists, he could not. I appreciate Netanyahu,” Ben-Gvir said to Kan News, “but with all due respect, there’s no other feasible choice but to form a real right-wing government, without the support of Ra’am.”


Updated Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 1:53 pm .