The Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) tripped the Otzma LeYisrael party by choosing to attack it during the election campaign, Otzma LeYisrael member Aryeh King charged on Wednesday.
Otzma LeYisrael came fairly close to entering the Knesset but failed to pass the 2 percent threshold needed to enter the parliament. The breakaway party, led by Ichud Leumi MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari, earned 61,825 votes, and lacked the 15,000 more needed to break the barrier. Ichud Leumi (National Union) had joined the Bayit Yehudi party so as to form a unified, large and significant religious Zionist faction, but the two MK's refused to accept the unity agreement.
King, who was placed in the fourth spot on Otzma LeYisrael’s list, told Arutz Sheva that the Jewish Home had placed the blame on the Likud’s smear campaign for its failure to achieve more Knesset members, but in his opinion, had in essence had done the same thing to Otzma LeYisrael.
"[Jewish Home’s] Uri Orbach argued today that the Likud, with its attacks on the Jewish Home, caused the party to lose votes to Lapid. I say the same thing about Uri Orbach and Uri Ariel, who convinced people not to vote for us because we would not pass the threshold,” said King. “They caused it be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I met a lot of people at the polls who wanted to vote for us but were convinced not to do so because they were told we would not pass the threshold.”
The Likud carried on a smear campaign of falsified character assassination against Bayit Yehudi candidates that was an integral part of their TV and radio ads. Bayit Yehudi did not publicize the view that Otzma would not reach the minimum Knesset threshold in their campaign, but did tell voters that a vote for Otzma might be wasted.
King said that had he known there was a serious chance that the party would not pass the threshold, he would have cancelled his candidacy. “If I had known two weeks ago that we wouldn’t be in the Knesset I would not have taken part in such a dangerous adventure. But all the outside polls predicted that we would get in,” he said, ignoring the many polls throughout the period that predicted that they would not and would just prevent Bayit Yehudi from getting another MK into the Knesset.
He added, “We will sit down and we will draw the conclusions. I feel, on a personal level, that in retrospect this move hurt the nationalist camp, but not because of our running as much as because of the damage done to us during the campaign. Had I known that they would hurt us, I would’ve reconsidered.”