Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Religious Zionist party Chairman Bezalel Smotrich, July 13, 2021.

Religious Zionism Chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich occasionally comes down with the hoof-in-mouth disease. Back in 2016, he revealed that his wife is not a racist, but after giving birth she prefers not to stay in the same maternity room as Arab mothers on account of the huge parties their families impose on the place. It was an honest comment that was made as part of an ongoing national debate, but it looked bad. He had several more glitches, which the media are only too happy to bring up now and again (you see we do).

We could file the above under the growing up pains of the otherwise gifted and occasionally inspired politician, but this week it turned out that Smotrich has yet to learn not to trust strangers with microphones. According to Kipa, a reporter for Channel 13th HaTzinor (The Pipeline) program named Ivgeni Zarubinski stuck his mic in Bezalel’s face the other day and Bezalel said, at the conclusion of a longer chat: “There’s nothing we can do, we must kill Evet.”

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He was referring to Evet Lvovich Liberman, who later changed his name to Avigdor and later still refused to join a right-wing coalition government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, thus starting the electoral crisis in which Israel has been mired since 2019.

When Zarubinski realized the depth of the muddy swamp Smotrich had just stepped into he said, “I’m talking to you a little bit for HaTzinor.” The stunned Smotrich responded with a rebuke of his interviewer’s unethical practice, which, I’m told, together with a token would get him a ride on the subway (I know, there are no more subway tokens).

Now, we all know that a politician who says anything the least bit controversial to a stranger––never mind a man he knows to be reporting for a vicious gossip television program––is an idiot. But I expect we also would agree that Bezalel Smotrich was not attempting to enlist Ivgeni Zarubinski in a plot to murder Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman (he was most likely referring to Liberman’s chances of sinking below the 3.25% threshold vote, which would be very funny since it was Liberman who initiated it).

Avigdor Liberman’s counter tweet stopped just short of suggesting an assassination attempt, accusing Smotrich of desperately looking for “creative” ways to destroy Liberman––politically.

“Hem Me-Fa-Ha-Dim (They are AF-RAI-D),” Liberman wrote over an edited retweet of the same video. He was borrowing from Netanyahu’s playbook – the embattled former PM owns the rights for that punctuated “they are afraid” message.

But Liberman had more to say: “Smotrich knows that I am his only barricade against the establishment of a Messianic Halakha government and he has ‘creative’ ways to break through this barricade.”

Every few years, when the cucumber season coincides with an election season, they yield the most stupid yet highly entertaining results. But ask yourself, deep inside, do you believe we deserve better?

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.
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