Bezalel Yoel Smotrich (Hebrew: בצלאל יואל סמוטריץ, was born on February 27, 1980, in Haspin, in the Golan Heights, and grew up in the Beit El settlement in the West Bank. His father was an Orthodox rabbi, and Smotrich received a religious education, attending Mercaz HaRav Kook, Yashlatz, and Yeshivat Kedumim.
He earned a BA in law from Ono Academic College. He also holds an LLB and is a licensed attorney. He also studied public and international law for an LLM at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In 2013, Smotrich was appointed the Bar Association's Official Comptroller of Detention Centers and, in 2014, he was appointed public representative at the Journalism Council assembly.
Smotrich was among the founders of the Regavim movement and served as its director. He also ran the yeshiva in Kedumim. He is one of the founders and managers of the Association of Zionist post-High School Yeshivas and served as a member of the board. He was board member of the Komemiyut Movement, board member of the Netanya Education Group, and board member of Bnei Hayil Yeshiva in Kedumim for children with ADHD.
He was arrested during protests against the disengagement plan in 2005, and was held in jail for three weeks, but not charged. Smotrich opposes gay marriage, and is an advocate for “family values.” In 2006, he helped organize the “Beast Parade” as part of protests against a gay pride parade in Jerusalem, although he later said he regretted the incident.
Smotrich joined the Tkuma Party, which ran as part of the Jewish Home list for the 2013 elections. He ran again on the same list in the 2015 elections, won a seat in the Knesset and was appointed Deputy Speaker. He was also a member of the Finance Committee, the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, the State Control Committee, and an alternate member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
He also chairs the Lobby for Strengthening and Development of the Galilee, the Lobby for Strengthening Governability, the Lobby for Encouraging Mission Oriented Communities, the Lobby for Applying Sovereignty to Judea and Samaria, the Lobby for Eretz Israel, the Lobby for Encouraging Population Growth in the Jewish Nation, and the Lobby for Encouraging Task-Oriented Communities and Groups, as well as other lobbies.
Smotrich opposes the creation of a Palestinian state and believes they should be given three options: to leave, accept rule by a Jewish state, or fight and be defeated.
Smotrich is married to Revital, with whom he has five children. The family lives in the Kedumim settlement in the West Bank.
Photo: איתן פולד. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.