Avi Suleman, the Secretary General of the Hapoel Hamizrahi Federation and a key activist in the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party spoke to Arutz Sheva ahead of Monday's vote approving the joint Bayit Yehudi / Tekuma list.
Suleman said that while it is true that the Likud's new Knesset list is more religious and more nationalistic than the previous Knesset's, it would be a mistake for religious Zionists to vote for it. Over the years, he explained, Likud has repeatedly preferred the hareidim over the religious Zionists in filling posts in key religious spheres of influence, in order to stabilize its coalition.
These issues, he said, include the Chief Rabbinate, the Religious Councils, the quotas of dayanim (religious court judges, ed.) and more. In order to change this, he said, the Bayit Yehudi needs to be as large as possible.
Asked if it was smart of party leader Naftali Bennett to declare that he would only join a Likud-led coalition, Suleman said that the idea is to woo Likud voters who want to see Netanyahu as the prime minister again, but also want to inject the political system with Judaism. For these voters, he said, it is important to know that the Bayit Yehudi will not hurt Netanyahu's chances of forming the next government.
Still, he said, Bayit Yehudi will not join the coalition "at any price" and will stay out if it feels it is being bought cheaply. "We want to have influence and it is important for us to have influence," he added, "but it is also important that we do not feel as if we are marginal."