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Smotrich said to suggest Netanyahu become president, run country via proxy

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, with then-tourism minister Yariv Levin during a vote at the assembly hall of the Knesset on February 13, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/File)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, with then-tourism minister Yariv Levin during a vote at the assembly hall of the Knesset on February 13, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/File)

Religious Zionism party leader Bezalel Smotrich has reportedly floated a proposal to tap Benjamin Netanyahu as president and replace him as prime minister with the current Knesset speaker, Yariv Levin, who will do Netanyahu’s bidding.

Smotrich will meet Netanyahu today as the premier tries to persuade him not to veto a government propped up by the Islamist Ra’am party.

According to ultra-Orthodox weekly “Mishpacha,” Smotrich has told a right-wing rabbi who was sent to convince him to change his stance: “If Netanyahu is so anxious to the fate of the right-wing camp, he is welcome to save Israel, make Yariv Levin prime minister on his behalf and continue to manage the country through him.

“Meanwhile, Bibi will run for the presidency, the legal proceedings against him will stop, after years a full right-wing government will be formed with [Naftali] Bennett and [Gideon] Sa’ar… without having to let terror supporters manage our lives.”

Sa’ar’s New Hope has vowed not to join a government headed by Netanyahu, but is open to work with Likud if Netanyahu doesn’t lead the party.

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