“The State of Israel and the state of the Jewish people will return to be governed as it was governed in the days of King David,” said MK Bezalel Smotrich.
By World Israel News Staff
Even as Israel prepares to go to a second general election in 2019 after a crisis caused by a dispute over the connection between religion and state, Union of Right-Wing Parties (URWP) MK Bezalel Smotrich, seeking to become Justice Minister, says he wants to restore “to restore” Torah law.
“That is how it should be in a Jewish state,” he told Kan public radio on Monday.
“The State of Israel and the state of the Jewish people will return to be governed as it was governed in the days of King David and King Solomon by Torah law,” Smotrich said, though adding that “how society lives in 2019” would be taken into account.
Various members of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, have been embroiled in a longstanding dispute with the Israeli court system over where the lines are drawn between the powers of the two different branches.
In addition, the Union of Right-Wing Parties ran a campaign before the April 9 election on a platform that included introducing more Torah into Israeli life in addition to a tougher stance towards the Palestinian Authority.
The religion and state dispute which resulted in the passage last week of a law declaring September 17 as the date for another snap election did not involve Smotrich’s faction.
It was a fight between Haredi religious parties and Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman over the issue of ensuring a quota of Haredi yeshiva students serving in the military.
Though Liberman has been accused by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of using the issue as a pretext to bring down the prime minister, the ultimate result was Netanyahu’s inability to gain a parliamentary majority to rule.
In November 2018, Liberman quit the previous government, in which he served as defense minister, criticizing Netanyahu for the lack of an aggressive response to terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip. His resignation ultimately led to the April election.
Liberman’s party platform includes a battle against what it views as religious coercion. The comments by Smotrich about instituting Torah law prompted Liberman to lash out at the URWP MK.
“This is no longer just a comment of a delusional hilltop youth, but a statement of intent, he wants a [religious law] Halachic state,” said Liberman. “Hilltop youth” is a reference to young activists who set up communities in Judea and Samaria which have not received governmental authorization.
Liberman himself lives in a community in Judea and Samaria, though authorized. His campaign touts a political right-wing though secular platform.
Latest public opinion polls show that Liberman and religious parties would have to join forces after the September election to ensure the formation of a right-wing government.