Đánh bạc app( divisive politician heading Israel’s finances

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Bezalel Smotrich

HE’S called himself a “proud homophobe” and said his wife shouldn’t have to recover from birth near an Arab woman in hospital.

He was arrested and held for weeks for protesting against Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza. He wants Jewish scripture to have more prominence in Israel’s legal and economic systems.

And he’s about to become the country’s finance minister.

Bezalel Smotrich (pic), 42, is leader of the ultra-nationalist Religious Zionist party and a member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s incoming government.

Technology executives have warned his policy outlook could threaten a sector that’s helped Israel take position among the world’s developed economies.

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Western officials say privately his strong support for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount and West Bank settlement expansion, along with his rejection of LGBT rights, will cause political headaches for Netanyahu. Israel’s incoming premier however insists he will control his coalition and direct government policy.

Some Western officials have even chosen not to meet with Smotrich and his far-right cabinet colleague, Itamar Ben Gvir, unless absolutely necessary.


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Those who know Smotrich say, however, the fears of him are unfounded. They describe a politician who intends to use his office to promote a market-based modern economy.

They point to his stint as transportation minister in the last Netanyahu-led government when he successfully rolled out carpooling lanes on heavily congested roads and expanded the electrification of the railways.

“Even his political opponents agreed that he was an extremely energetic and efficient minister, and I expect you’ll see the same qualities brought to bear as finance minister,” said Moshe Koppel, the founder and chairman of the Jerusalem-based conservative-libertarian think tank the Kohelet policy forum.

The new government is likely to drive change – long-supported by Smotrich’s party – to Israel’s powerful judiciary, said Koppel, whose institution also supports this. Proposed policies include measures to allow the parliament to override Supreme Court rulings with a simple majority, and to give elected lawmakers a greater role in approving judges.

Critics say this could undermine Israel’s status as a liberal democracy.

Smotrich declined to comment for this article. A spokesperson said an interview he gave over the summer with Israel’s public broadcaster Kan reflected his economic views.

“Today, I think there aren’t a lot of socialists, and there aren’t a lot of capitalists,” he said at the time.

“Most people are in the middle. Most people want a free market, minimum regulation, and minimum bureaucracy.”

This week Smotrich said he would pursue “a broad free-market policy,” in an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal. This would include removing price controls and import restrictions, “loosening” bureaucratic control over small businesses and reducing the power of labor unions, he wrote in the piece that also discussed the West Bank and judiciary.






  • 2023-02-01 00:07:22