Bezalel Smotrich’s Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionist Party defied expectations, with initial polls giving it six or seven seats making it as strong or even stronger then New Hope.
Throughout the day, Smotrich had taken a disaster scenario approach to vote-getting, warning that his party might not garner enough seats to enter the Knesset.
“We are on the edge of danger,” Smotrich said.
He received a boost from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, which urged voters to also support Smotrich, something that they have been doing for weeks.
Smotrich has said from the start that he would enter a Netanyahu-led coalition. But he was attacked during the day by the Yamina Party led by Naftali Bennett, who was losing voters to Smotrich.
Bennett left his options open to join either a Netanyahu-led government or one headed by Yesh Atid Party head Yair Lapid
Smotrich was part of Yamina in the last government, but broke off to form his own party that has included far-right politician Itamar Ben-Gvir. Ben-Gvir is third on the party list.
Until the Yamina assault, Smotrich said, he had felt that his party had enough votes to securely make it into the Knesset. Now, he said, he was not sure.
“Our danger point is the danger point of the right-wing government,” said Smotich, as he explained that his party was necessary for Netanyahu to form a coalition of 61 mandates.
Smotrich said that Bennett wanted to wipe out his party so that he would not be pressured to join a Netanyahu led government.
For hours Yamina had spoken of why not to vote for the Religious Zionist Party rather than focusing on the reason why to vote for its party, such as COVID-19 or the economy.
“It’s not normal,” Smotrich said.
Go out to vote, he urged, so that there can be a party that supports Jewish sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, otherwise known as the West Bank.
“Do not tire,” he said, the whole country must be painted with the voting slips for the Religious Zionist Party.
“We must be 100% inside, there must be a 100% right-wing government,” he added.
Let the votes prove that there is a majority for the Right in this country, he added.