Daily Israel Report

Ketzaleh: We’re Heading for Something Huge

Religious-Zionist politics is heading toward “something huge” with new unity deal, and the public is responding, says MK Katz.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 9/13/2012, 9:52 PM

Ketzaleh
Ketzaleh
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The religious-Zionist political world is “heading for something huge, and great,” MK Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz (National Union) said this week, speaking to Arutz Sheva. The new unity deal between many of the members of the National Union and Jewish Home parties will change the face of politics, he declared.

Voters are responding to the deal with enthusiasm, he said, giving good cause to believe that the two parties together can pull in at least 10 seats, and as many as 15. Currently, National Union has four seats and the Jewish Home party has three.

The unity deal has been controversial. Not every MK has signed the agreement: MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari of the National Union, as well as Minister Daniel Hershkowitz and MK Zevulun Orlev of Jewish Home, have not put their names on the deal.

Ketzaleh said those who signed were right to act quickly, even before agreement could be reached within the party. “The time left to the elections is very short… The elections for Knesset will be in the next few months, so there has to be unity now, not after November. Then we would find ourselves disorganized, and the unity would be meaningless,” he argued.

He expressed hope that those who have not agreed to the unity deal “will join me, and [MK] Ariel, and [Naftali] Bennett and [MK] Orbach and sign.”

One of the main points of contention between the two parties in the past has been the issue of primary elections. In fact, the National Union’s system of selecting candidates without elections will complement the Jewish Home’s system in which candidates are voted in by party members, Ketzaleh stated.

“Any problems with the Jewish Home’s primaries method, like a lack of candidates who are Sephardi, or female, or young – the National Union will take it upon itself to include them” high on the party list, he said.

MKs Michael Ben-Ari and Aryeh Eldad will be relatively high on the list, he added; as long as the united party wins at least eight seats, both will enter Knesset. Regarding Ben-Ari in particular, he said, “He must not run alone. Votes would be lost, and he adds political flavor that the list needs, like Hotovely in the Likud or Rotem with Lieberman.”