Likud Pushing for Smotrich to Agree to Ra’am Outside Support

YERUSHALAYIM -
Head of the Religious Zionism party MK Betzalel Smotrich. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)

As the coalition talks continue, the only realistic way to establish a right-wing government is if Religious Zionist Party head Betzalel Smotrich agrees to accept outside support from the Ra’am party, something he adamantly opposes. Nevertheless, Ra’am party members have relayed key ideas they would like to see promoted to Likud officials.

Likud officials insist that Smotrich has no reason to oppose such cooperation with Ra’am as they believe the Islamist party’s demands, if implemented, would also serve that of the Religious Zionist Party.

It should be noted the Ra’am party did not include any request concerning the controversial Nation-State law or the Kamenitz Law in the demands it relayed to Likud members in recent days.

Likud officials called Ra’am’s demands “reasonable, logical, correct, good for the Arab sector, and good for the Israeli public.”

“Despite his rightwing positions, these are not things Smotrich should outright oppose. All they’re asking for is a budget, to be managed by them, for the good of the Arab sector, mainly to improve infrastructure, for education and the war on crime,” one Likud official said, according to Yisrael Hayom.

Ra’am has also asked to legalize large Arab communities in the Negev and allow for the authorization of large-scale construction in Arab communities in the future.

According to the Likud official, “Everyone who lives in Israel should support this. It would be good for them to take care of infrastructure, education, crime in the Arab sector. When big issues like the nation-state law and the Kamenitz Law aren’t on the table, there’s no reason for Smotrich to oppose relying on them from the outside.”

They said, “There are a few communities in the Negev where there’s no longer any choice; we need to legalize and regulate them – large communities where tens of thousands of people live – and we can’t ignore them. We need to provide them with infrastructure and normal lives. The legalization of a few Arab communities won’t kill Smotrich. Moreover, allowing them future construction in the territories where they live is in Smotrich’s interest. Would he prefer Arab society build in Kfar Qasim and Umm al-Fahm, or due to space issues, expand into urban areas inside Israeli cities?”

Smotrich raised hopes in the Likud that something in his position had changed in a conciliatory post in response to yet another shocking murder in the Arabs sector, this time of 39-year-old mother of three in the Arab city of Tira.

In a social media post on Tuesday, Smotrich wrote that “Arab society is in genuine distress. As a country and a society, we have a moral and civil responsibility to stand with and assist it.”

Following the launch of a rocket from the Gaza Strip to Israel, Thursday, however, Smotrich took to social media to ask his followers: “Do you really want the State of Israel to be the hostage of the Islamic Movement and for its government to be dependent on it to respond to Hamas fire from Gaza?!”