Religious Zionist Party leader MK Betzalel Smotrich on Sunday launched an unprecedented attack against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu suggesting that “maybe it really is time he be replaced.”
Smotrich’s ire followed a statement by Netanyahu, urging calm following last week’s clashes in Yerushalayim and the rocket fire from Gaza on Friday night.
“After countless acts of terror by the Arab enemy and the rocket salvo on the south, did Netanyahu really just ‘urge cooler heads to prevail’? Maybe it really is time he be replaced,” Smotrich posted.
The Likud responded, “Given that the prime minister and Likud donated three seats to the Religious Zionist Party and as Smotrich is not privy to sensitive security assessments, it is best he exercise humility and show gratitude, rather than accosting the Prime Minister, who is working night and day to ensure Israel’s security.”
Smotrich fired back, writing that “if anyone here who says they ‘gave me’ three seats actually did so, I’d have fifteen seats today.”
Smotrich has been considered a part of Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc. During the last election campaign, the prime minister had worked hard to encourage voters to vote for Smotrich. Measures included encouraging a joint list with the Otzma Yehudit and Noam parties.
Netanyahu “did me no favors,” he wrote, adding that “throughout, I emphasized that I am not personally committed to him [Netanyahu], but to the values of the Right and religious Zionism.”
And now, it seems he feels that Netanyahu no longer reflects these values.