Photo Credit: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90
Religious Zionism Chairman and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

Religious Zionism Chairman and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has had it with Israel’s security establishment. After he and his political ally, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir played nice, consenting to two former IDF chiefs of staff who created the “conceptzia” joining Netanyahu’s government on the condition that Smotrich and Ben Gvir would be barred from the war cabinet – now both right-wing leaders are watching angrily as the security establishment and the army are dragging their feet and endangering the country on every front.

“The same ‘security officials’ who did everything for years to prevent the IDF from entering Gaza and destroying Hamas and who are responsible for the most terrible military failure that has happened to the Jewish people since the Holocaust, and who have since been conducting the war incompetently, while threatening anyone who dares to challenge their degenerate thinking and think outside the box. And that’s the whole conceptzia,” Smotrich tweeted on Tuesday.


On Wednesday morning Smotrich was interviewed on Reshet Bet Radio, declaring, “The reality is that the IDF does not want to go to war in the north, and the heads of the army are responsible for the massacre on October 7.”

Now, that’s a one-two punch.

According to the finance minister, the October 7 massacre had nothing to do with him and was a “crazy” operational and intelligence failure. “Whoever is responsible for it should have gone home a long time ago,” Smotrich slammed the former and present chiefs of staff crowding the war cabinet and accused senior IDF officials of conspiring against him. “The same people who failed on October 7 are not ashamed to criticize me today,” he said.

Smotrich was asked whether the IDF is preventing a war in Lebanon, to which he replied: “We need to ask the IDF hard questions and challenge it, not leave a blank check for commanders who tell us they are ready for a campaign in two theaters and at the moment of truth they fold.”

He was confronted with the fact that the October 7 massacre happened while he was serving as minister, and responded, “The massacre had nothing to do with me, it was a crazy intelligence-operational failure. Whoever was responsible for it should have gone home a long time ago. This is an IDF conceptzia. Who is briefing against me to the newspapers? The heads of the IDF, the same people who failed on October 7 are not ashamed to criticize me today.”

As to the hostage deal which President Biden presented last Friday as both a fait accompli and something that Israel had proposed, Smotrich said, “It’s a reckless deal. I unequivocally opposed a previous deal that was debated in the cabinet two weeks ago. On Thursday it became clear that another deal was proposed without authority. This deal will only delay the release of the hostages because Sinwar will only become further entrenched in his position. We released a great many hostages when we applied heavy military pressure.”

He is not a big fan of the war cabinet where he was declared persona non grata. “The War Cabinet makes a lot of wrong decisions, I supported decisions that I was not at peace with either, but I did it in the name of unity. Comes a moment when I find it difficult to support the decisions that are being made there.”

Smotrich met on Monday with the rabbinic authorities of his party and discussed with them in more than five meetings in one day whether the Religious Zionism party should stay in government. Sources briefed on the details of the talks told Reshet Bet Radio that Smotrich does not intend to wait for the Hamas deal to be finalized. If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to promote the outline of the deal as presented by Biden, Finance Minister Smotrich could retire from the government prematurely.

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