Smotrich Sees Coalition Agreements Concluded in Coming Days

By Hamodia Staff

Religious Zionist party head MK Betzalel Smotrich at a conference in Yerushalayim on Sunday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM — Negotiations to form a new government appeared to be gathering momentum on Sunday as Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu was set to meet with representatives of all the members of his right-religious bloc by evening.

Religious Zionism head Betzalel Smotrich said that he believes that “with God’s help, a truly right-wing government will be created in the coming days,” according to a statement from his spokesperson reported on Ynet.

Netanyahu reportedly hopes to resolve some of the outstanding issues in the upcoming meetings, which follow an agreement with Itamar Ben Gvir of the Otzma Yehudit party on Friday.

Netanyahu and Smotrich have been at odds over the latter’s demand for the defense portfolio, though compromises are being discussed. United Torah Judaism and Shas have also yet to sign, as the ministerial and committee appointments, along with legislative agendas, remain under discussion.

Even in the case of Otzma Yehudit, there are loose ends. Reportedly, Ben Gvir will be the next public security minister, but a final agreement that includes “budgets, substantive issues and fundamental guidelines” has yet to be signed, Otzma Yehudit and the Likud said in a joint statement on Friday.

The structure of the talks is another issue. UTJ’s Rabbi Moshe Gafni said on Sunday afternoon that separate meetings between Likud and the main UTJ factions, Degel Hatorah and Agudas Yisrael, as Likud had proposed were “not acceptable to us.”

“If Netanyahu and the Likud want to meet [with us], it has to be with me and my friend MK Rabbi Yitzchak Goldknopf together.”

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