Smotrich: Netanyahu ‘lying through his teeth,’ was desperate to ally with Ra’am

Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich speaks at a conference of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce in Tel Aviv, on October 23, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich speaks at a conference of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce in Tel Aviv, on October 23, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Kan news airs recordings of Religious Zionism-Otzma Yehudit party chief Bezalel Smotrich saying Benjamin Netanyahu “desperately wanted” to ally with the Islamist Ra’am party after the 2021 election and says the former premier is “lying through his teeth.”

He also calls Netanyahu “trouble,” and says he may yet be found guilty in his criminal trial.

Netanyahu is widely reported to have made Ra’am generous offers to clinch its support for him forming a government, but Smotrich ruled out the matter. However, since the formation of the current government, Netanyahu and Likud have railed against its inclusion of Ra’am, claiming the coalition was leaning on the backing of “terror supporters” — though the party has repeatedly condemned terror.

“If I’d wanted to take two parliamentary seats from Bibi, I should have laid into him. He’s lying through his teeth. He didn’t want to go with Ra’am? He desperately wanted to. I’m the only one who stood in the way,” Smotrich is heard saying to unidentified listeners.

However, he says that since Netanyahu is denying it, “I’m toeing the line. I don’t lie when I’m interviewed [about it]. I say, I’m not concerned with the past, that it’s not important.”

He adds that “even if he was willing to give them a bit less” than the current coalition, “it doesn’t make a difference, the moment he agrees to form a government with them, in the end he’s dependent on them. At first, he’d have given them less, and later, he’d have given them everything, otherwise they’d have brought him down and we’d go to elections.”

But Smotrich says he is “going along with his narrative now because it serves what I believe is right for the people of Israel.”

Smotrich also says Netanyahu will leave the scene eventually.

“Netanyahu won’t stay forever,” he says. “Physics and biology will take their course. Eventually, he’ll be found guilty in court or I don’t know what. We need a little patience.”

“There’s no doubt that Netanyahu is trouble, alright? But now you have to choose between troubles.”

As for why he opposes Ra’am’s inclusion despite its stated to desire to set aside the Palestinian issue and focus on civil matters, Smotrich says he wants to help the Arab public, but does not want Arab parties to achieve things as this would “puff up the chests” of the Arab public that members of their own community had bettered their lives.

He says he wants any benefits for the Arab public to come from “us, the state, the Jews.”

Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure:
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.