Members of the leftwing opposition on Monday engaged in vehement attacks on the appointment of MK Bezalel Smotrich as interim transportation minister and member of the political-security cabinet. Following the announcement of the appointment of the chairman of the National Union, along with of Habayit Hayehudi chairman MK Rabbi Rafi Peretz as education minister, the opposition voiced its fierce objections to both appointments.
Smotrich, who has fought for a long time for the justice portfolio, on Monday posted on his Facebook page: “The Prime Minister offered us the education and transportation portfolios, as well as membership in the political-security cabinet. Sitting at the government and cabinet tables is important to our ability to influence and lead, and religious Zionism should be there even in this twilight period.”
Smotrich admitted that “we are in a pre-election government and it is reasonable to assume that I will not be able to make a significant impact in a short time period of a transitional government, but there is certainly much to do in this situation, in either of these jobs.”
He expressed his delight with “the refreshing winds blowing in the corridors of the US administration regarding the application of Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, which are encouraging and demand of the staff of all government ministries to collaborate in preparing for the practical implications of sovereignty.”
“I will also try to start this process in the coming months,” Smotrich vowed. “We will voice a clear support for returning to the discourse of victory and destruction of the enemy forces; we will demand a resolution regarding Hamas and restoring peace and security to the residents of the south.”
Blue & White chairman MK Benny Gantz said in response to Smotrich’s appointment: “Netanyahu does not have a minute to deal with a deficit of 50 billion shekels, but he has plenty of time to deal with jobs, and appoint Smotrich as cabinet member and minister of transportation. The next move would be to replace the traffic laws with halacha laws,” Gantz quipped at Smotrich’s expense, referring to the latter’s sharing his dream of a Torah State in Israel.
Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who plans to run in September, either on a Labor ticket or his own, posted on Facebook that “Netanyahu lost it.” Barak compared letting Smotrich into the cabinet to placing an idol in the holy Temple. Listing all of Smotrich’s shortcomings in the eyes of the left (about one million Israelis altogether), Barak suggested “We must win the elections. This is the only mission for all of us, until September 17. We must win.”
No, they won’t.
Meretz chairman MK Tamar Sandberg also did not approve of Smotrich’s appointment, tweeting: “Netanyahu has now given the keys to the people who want to turn Israel into a halachic state, but did not stop there, and also made sure to bring a war monger into the cabinet of the State of Israel. Any deal at the expense of Israeli citizens is acceptable to Netanyahu to evade justice (meaning the pending indictments against him).”
Hadash Chairman MK Ayman Odeh tweeted: “Greetings to the new Transport Minister Bezalel Smotrich. Here’s hoping he won’t be disappointed when he finds out it’s impossible to pave a road back to the Middle Ages.”
Ahmed Tibi, Odeh’s faction partner, tweeted: “Transportation Minister Smotrich. He’ll bring his own fuel from home (a reference to accusations of arson against settlers).”