search

Smotrich slams Likud’s ‘lies,’ urges it to ‘get serious’ about coalition talks

Likud leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with Religious Zionism party head MK Bezalel Smotrich as party chiefs pose for a group photograph during the swearing-in ceremony of the 25th Knesset, November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/ Flash90)
Likud leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with Religious Zionism party head MK Bezalel Smotrich as party chiefs pose for a group photograph during the swearing-in ceremony of the 25th Knesset, November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/ Flash90)

Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism party accuses Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party of constantly leaking “lies” to the press as part of the coalition negotiations, alleging in a lengthy statement that Likud wants to “trample and humiliate and sideline” the far-right party.

Religious Zionism says Likud “has unfortunately decided to hold negotiation meetings barely once every three days, and in between to leak spin to degrade us and to send armies of tweeters and ‘analysts’ to lie, curse and vulgarly berate us.”

The party says it has demanded the defense, education and religious affairs portfolios. It says it has agreed to a series of requests by Netanyahu, including giving up the Defense Ministry in exchange for control of the Covil Administration and getting the Finance Ministry for two years and the Interior Ministry and Transportation Ministry after that, as well as giving up the religious affairs and education portfolios and getting responsibility for religious state-affiliated schools.

“And last night, [Netanyahu] went back on all the agreements,” Religious Zionism charges. “We suggest that Likud start getting serious about the negotiation.”

The party responds to vocal Netanyahu-aligned pundits and activists holding it responsible for the deadlock in coalition talks, saying it would be a “mistake” to succumb to the pressure and “regret the missed opportunity for four years.”

It says “things weren’t okay” in more than a decade under Netanyahu, and that it has “promised that it will be different this time,” referring to a list of often radical demands regarding security, the judiciary, settlements and religious matters.

“We’re going with Netanyahu and Likud and we don’t think we need to prove that after the last two years, but we aren’t giving an open cheque and are not going blindly,” it says. “We have no interest in mud-slinging. We will stick to our demands to ensure those who voted right-wing will get right-wing.”

Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed