Smotrich Could Seek Defense, Justice, Finance Portfolios in a Netanyahu Coalition
On Saturday, chairman of the Religious Zionism party, Bezalel Smotrich expressed hope that five ministerial positions would be granted to his joint slate with Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party.
This would happen if a coalition is formed in the future with Likud’s party head Benjamin Netanyahu after the elections on 1st November.
According to Smotrich, his party would be entitled to receive some meaningful positions and he intended to claim the justice, transportation, finance and defense portfolios.
He said that they would have anywhere between three to five portfolios for his party.
Opinion polls have widely forecast that Religious Zionism-Otzma Yehudit will become the third-largest party in the Knesset after the elections.
If Netanyahu’s Likud party is indeed able to take power once more, his coalition government would heavily depend on the far-right slate.
In the previous cabinet led by Netanyahu, Smotrich had been given the role of transportation minister between 2019 and 2020.
The slate is a combination of Religious Zionism, Otzma Yehudit and also MK Avi Maoz’s anti-LGBT Noam party.
It was in 2012 that the Otzma Yehudit party had been established, but it had not been able to get the required support in the Knesset.
In 2021, Netanyahu had stepped forward to form an alliance between Otzma Yehudit and the Religious Zionism to ensure that the right-wing votes don’t get wasted in the elections in that year.
Since entering the Knesset, Ben Gvir has seen his popularity in the hard right surge significantly.
Amir Ohana, the Likud MK, had also served in the role of justice minister in the Netanyahu government. He vowed that a future coalition led by Netanyahu would pass a bill in the Knesset.
This particular bill would be aimed at defining the role of the attorney general. He stated that for the first time since 1948, an attorney general law would be enacted.
This would help in determining the attorney general’s powers, outline their jurisdiction’s limits and that their opinion is not binding because they are just a consultant for the government.
In recent months, Likud lawmakers have stated that current Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara would be fired by Netanyahu, if the latter wins the upcoming election.
The attorney general was appointed by the current government, but Netanyahu and the Likud party have denied these claims.
Ohana’s remarks earned some backlash from the center-right Nationalist party, which said that they proved that Netanyahu intends to crush the law enforcement and justice systems.
Netanyahu is currently facing corruption charges and trials are ongoing and he has railed at law enforcement, prosecutors and the court systems rather frequently in recent years.
He claims that he was indicted without evidence on trumped-up charges because they wanted to force him out of office.
Likud lawmakers and their allies have vowed to introduce reforms to the legal system in Israel if they are able to return to power, like allowing the Knesset to overrule the rulings of the Supreme Court.