Op-Ed: National Union+Jewish Home: Party of the Future
Ted BelmanThe author is a retired attorney and the editor of Israpundit. In 2009 he made aliya and is now living in Jerusalem.
I attended a rally last night organized by Jeremy Gimpel and Ari Abramowitz, both of whom are the stars and the energy behind Tuesday Night Live in Jerusalem (which also had successful cross country USA appearances last year) and both of whom are running to get elected as MK’s representing the Jewish Home Party, formerly the NRP.
Both are very educated and very articulate. They made aliya from American a number of years ago. They are religious Zionists. They have built an enormous following as a result of their TV show and their radio show. They have a facebook page that lists over 270,000 fans, their You Tube page has over 11 million views and their latest video was viewed by 36 million people on cable and satellite television. Very impressive.
Naftali Bennett, former CEO of the Council for Judea and Samaria (and once head of the PM's office) and Min. Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz (Science Minister and former Mathematics Professor at the Technion) are both running for the leadership of the party known in Hebrew as Bayit Yehudi Party. They were both there and spoke about their visions and values.
They all share the vision of Israel being true to its Torah roots including religion, but they emphasize that they want a party and country that is secular friendly, that doesn’t tolerate religious coercion and that embraces all Jews. Thus they have renamed the Party, Jewish Home. They hold that ” A united Israel includes military national or community service for every citizen”. Bennett wants to annex Area C as a first step. Hershkowitz wants to annex all of Judea and Samaria.
While Hershkowitz’s resume is very impressive, in my opinion, he lacks the youth, enthusiasm and charisma of the other three. This is to be -and can be - the Party of the Future.
From what I can see, this party is so little different from the National Union which is a joint list of three parties headed by the charismatic Yaakov Katz (Ketsaleh) and including HaTikvah headed by MK Dr. Aryeh Eldad. I think it imperative that Bayit Yehudi and National Union amalgamate to form one religious Zionist party. Together they presently hold seven seats.
I believe that many Likudniks would abandon Likud and join their ranks. As I understand it, Moshe Feiglin is wedded to the now rather far-fetched idea of taking over Likud or at least greatly influencing it.