Rabbi Dr. Daniel Tropper, the chairman of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party’s Elections Committee, on Wednesday called on the party to ask for the Interior and Religious Affairs Ministries as part of the coalition negotiations. These ministries were traidtionally in the hands of the NRP before the rise of the Sephardic Shas party.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Rabbi Dr. Tropper welcomed the success of the party in last week’s elections, saying, “We grew from three seats in the last Knesset to 12, it's a lot. We’re no longer a party on the sidelines but a party with influence.”
He said he trusts party chairman Naftali Bennett to proudly lead the religious Zionist sector of Israeli society, adding, “The party has changed completely. Holding primaries brought the party back to the hands of the public and that’s good. Now everything is in the hands of our elected officials and I fully trust them.”
Rabbi Dr. Tropper said that he believes it is very important for the Jewish Home to have an effect on the character of the country for the benefit of all sectors, and said he believes the party can do that through the Interior and Religious Affairs Ministries.
“The most important portfolio is the Interior Ministry,” he said. “You actually become in charge of all the municipalities. There is a lot of social and religious activity being held at the municipal level and a lot can be done with it.”
He added, “The Religious Affairs Ministry, which in recent years went to the hareidi parties that are not really connected to Israeli society, is also important and should be in the hands of religious Zionism.”
Rabbi Tropper, an immigrant from the USA who lives in Jerusalem, has a Ph.d. from Yeshiva University and rabbinical ordination from Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik. He is well-known figure in Israel, having formed the Gesher Organization, one of the first efforts aimed at bridging religious-secular differences, over forty years ago.
On Wednesday, President Shimon Peres began the process of officially choosing Israel’s next Prime Minister, meeting with the heads of every party that made it into the next Knesset.
Each party head tells the president who he or she recommends for Prime Minister. The president traditionally chooses the candidate with the most support.
On Wednesday evening, Peres met with members of the Likud Beytenu and then with Yesh Atid. He will continue meeting with the rest of the parties on Thursday.
While there was initially some concern on the right that the left would unite this time and Peres would choose a left-wing leader as the next PM, Netanyahu is now considered to be a shoo-in. He has support from Yesh Atid, the second-largest faction, as well as Bayit Yehudi, Shas and United Torah Judaism, and may have support from Kadima and Hatnua.
The Labor and Meretz parties are likely not to recommend anyone for Prime Minister.
On Friday, Peres will officially give the next Prime Minister a mandate to build the government coalition.