Hotovely: Religious Zionists Will Pick the Next Prime Minister

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will arrive on Wednesday to Eli, a town in the Binyamin region of Samaria, in an election campaign initiative of Likud Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely.

Hotovely told Arutz Sheva that the visit comes from the understanding that the religious Zionist public "is the central player in deciding who will be the next prime minister."

Anyone who views themselves as rightist and not interested in the left taking control of the government "should chose the next prime minister – not next to him, not vaguely and not parties that as it were have a right-wing feeling," she said. "Every vote that doesn't go to Likud risks bringing a reality in which Likud and Jewish Home will sit in the opposition."

Hotovely attempted to explain how in the present coalition Likud and Jewish Home released 78 terrorists as a "gesture" to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and froze Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria for many long months without any direct foreign demand to do so.

"We saw how the Likud functions as a ruling government in the previous Knesset, as opposed to the current Knesset in which Likud was just the prime minister without a basic maneuvering area, due Yair Lapid joining," claimed Hotovely.

The mention of the previous Knesset comes despite charges that since Netanyahu took power in 2009, Jerusalem has been divided de facto with eight neighborhoods forbidden to Jews.

 "Whoever wanted a large Jewish Home to protect Likud from the right discovered that next to a large Jewish Home is an even larger Yesh Atid," said Hotovely, pointing to the last elections in which Jewish Home got 11 seats and Yesh Atid got 19. "The leftist forces…could in the end bring us a government that won't only freeze construction, but also return all of the settlements."

Hotovely's comment refers to the plan of Labor's Yitzhak Herzog to divide Jerusalem and give up large parts of Israel's Biblical homeland in Judea and Samaria to the PA. Netanyahu voiced his own support of the "two state solution" in the controversial 2009 Bar Ilan speech.

Recognizing religious Zionism

Regarding Netanyahu's planned speech on the Iranian nuclear threat in the US Congress two weeks ahead of elections, Hotovely remarked "leadership is tested precisely when things aren't easy with the world. Those who ingratiate themselves with the world – that isn't leadership."

"The state of Israel needs a leader who will know to get up and say there is a deal here (with Iran) that is a tragedy, an agreement of western submission headed by the United States," she added.

Hotovely said the media obsession with scandals concerning Netanyahu, and particularly his wife, is being replaced with issues of substance, namely the speech on Iran.

Netanyahu this week charged that news mogul Noni Mozes of Yedioth Aharonot was behind the campaign against him in the press, with Hotovely noting of Mozes "the public understands there's a fight here with interests behind it."

Two years ago in forming the current government Netanyahu first turned to Hatnua head Tzipi Livni to form his coalition, raising fears that if Likud wins in the elections it may seek an alignment precisely with Labor and the leftist parties, rather than the right-wing factions.

When asked about this possibility, Hotovely promised "those who tasted the bitterness of Tzipi Livni and the partnership with people who are not ideological partners, those who tasted…a government paralyzed for a year and a half, the reality of a government that goes to elections after a year and a half – won't repeat that mistake again."

According to Hotovely, "Netanyahu understood that the natural partnership is with religious Zionism and the haredim, and only this partnership allows him to rule for four years, and therefore Netanyahu will prefer religious Zionism and that's the root of the visit to Eli."

"He wants to tell religious Zionism: you're responsible for who will be the next prime minister," she concluded.


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