Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Religious Zionism Chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich returning from a meeting with Shas leader Aryeh Deri in Jerusalem, November 13, 2022.

Religious Zionism Chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich declared at the start of his first faction meeting in the 25th Knesset: “This time we will not let anyone from within or without steal our vote, and we will guarantee that those who voted right will get right. Those who chose us placed their trust in us and expect us with absolute rightfulness to fulfill what we promised them – and this time we don’t have and won’t have any excuses.”

Responding to the struggles he has faced in negotiating with presumed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but without mentioning any names, Smotrich stated: “We have a homogeneous and amiable coalition with agreements on most of the important issues. After a difficult year and a half of a government that relied on the supporters of terrorism here in the Knesset and helped our enemies raise their heads, all the parties of the national camp have vowed to put the Jewish state of Israel back on track.”

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Referring to Tuesday morning’s bloody terrorist attack (Multiple Dead & Wounded in Terror Attack at Entrance to Ariel Industrial Zone), Smotrich sent his condolences to the families of the victims and wished the wounded a speedy recovery.

“This morning in Samaria, we received a painful reminder of the existential struggle we are waging here against our enemies for about a hundred years of Jewish revival in the Land of Israel, and of the most important and urgent issue on our agenda: an uncompromising fight against terrorism and the restoration of security to the State of Israel and the citizens of Israel,” Smotrich continued.

“Terrorism has raised its head and we see it, especially in Judea and Samaria. Stabbing, shooting, running over by cars, stone throwing. We must stop this thing,” he said. “To accomplish this, we must move from defense to attack, resolutely pursue the terrorists and their operators. To act with might against terrorism. To make sure that whoever raises a hand or a weapon or a stone will know that his blood is on his head, and he and those around him will pay a heavy price for it.”

Returning to the burning issue his faction is facing, namely coalition negotiations with a reluctant Netanyahu who would likely have preferred to lure in Benny Gantz if he only could, Smotrich struck a confident note:

“To restore security to the State of Israel and the citizens of Israel, all the parties of the national camp in the opposition worked together, we succeeded in overthrowing the previous government and in the end, the people of Israel had their say and determined that a Jewish and national government would be established in Israel that would take care of all the citizens of Israel.

“Over half a million citizens gave us 14 mandates and the power to make a real change. And I say clearly: what was is not what will be. In full cooperation with my friend Itamar Ben Gvir and together with all the partners in the government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, we will restore security and governance, with God’s help,

“We will fix the justice system, regulate and open up the settlements in Judea and Samaria, thwart the efforts of the Palestinian Authority to take control of the territories and establish a terrorist state, strengthen the Jewish identity of the country, and take care of the cost of living to allow the State of Israel to grow and all the citizens of Israel to live with dignity.”

Referring to rumors that have been pushed by the Israeli media about the Biden administration’s warnings to Netanyahu against including his “extreme right” faction in his coalition government, Smotrich said: “We must not give in to the terrorist threats of the Palestinians who are trying to interfere in the process of establishing the new government, and our friends around the world should also respect our democratic choices.”

Smotrich then knocked back the Israeli central labor union Histadrut whose leaders have already declared they would boycott him should he become the next Finance Minister, saying: “In the internal arena, we will not allow the Histadrut or any other element on the left to decide for us and dictate the economic policy and the appointments in the new government.”

Smotrich concluded: “Only the citizens of Israel will determine which government will be established in Israel and what its policies will be, and they expressed their wishes sharply and clearly two weeks ago,” and added: “We will act with great responsibility and determination to serve you, the citizens of Israel, and with God’s help we will act and succeed.”

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.