Religious Zionism party leader: ‘Disloyal Arabs won’t be in Israel for long’

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Religious Zionism party leader Betzalel Smotrich (Flash90/Yonatan Sindel)

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Knesset Member Betzalel Smotrich of the Religious Zionism party warned Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi that Muslims and Arabs who do not accept Jewish rule over Israel will soon be expelled from the country, during a Twitter argument on Wednesday.

The social media spat, which began a few hours before Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, comes on the heels of the swearing-in of Knesset members following the election.

During the swearing-in ceremony, several members of the Arab Joint List party, including Ayman Odeh, Samy Abu Shahadeh, Ofer Cassif, and Aida Tuma-Slima, ignored the wording of the pledge and instead vowed to “end Israel’s apartheid and occupation.”

With feelings still raw, Tibi slammed Chief Rabbi of Safed, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, during a radio interview, calling Eliyahu “racist garbage.”

Eliyahu, who is also a prominent figure in the religious Zionism movement, said in 2019 that “the land [of Israel] vomits out the Arabs.”

 

“I despise him,” Tibi continued. “A rabbi is not supposed to talk like that. And if a sheikh talks like that about Jews then he should also be condemned.”

Smotrich, who took offense to Tibi’s remarks about Eliyahu, spoke out on Twitter.

“I heard that after Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu said that a true Muslim should know that the Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel, Ahmad Tibi opened his mouth about him,” Smotrich tweeted.

“So Ahmad, a true Muslim must know that the Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel, and Arabs like you who do not recognize that won’t be here for long. Rabbi Shmuel and the tens of thousands of his followers, including us, will take care of this.”

Referring to Mansour Abbas, head of the Ra’am party and the potential kingmaker for a right-wing coalition, Tibi replied, “It makes me happy that you won’t be a minister without relying on Arabs.”

Tibi added in German, “Du bist ein Rassist [you are a racist.]”

 

“Oh Ahmad, I will be a minister and it will not be in any way in relying on terrorist supporters and terrorist huggers like you and like your friends in Ra’am,” Smotrich fired back.

“You will continue to make childish provocations at the [Knesset] plenum and we will continue to build the Land of Israel as the home of the Jewish people, for it and for those who accept Israel as a Jewish State.”

In the past, Smotrich appeared to call for the expulsion of Arab Israelis.

In March 2020, he tweeted at two Arab Israeli MKs, “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live.”