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Ketzaleh Calls for Bennett's Removal

Former National Union chairman says current leader is complicit in impending eviction of 8 communities.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/22/2013, 3:39 PM

Ketzaleh and Bennett in better times
Ketzaleh and Bennett in better times
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Former Knesset member and ex-chairman of the National Union party Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh) is calling on the Bayit Yehudi MKs to immediately depose the chairman of the religious-Zionist party, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett. Katz says Bennett knows that the current “peace talks” are rigged to lead to the eviction and demolition of eight Jewish communities around Shechem.

Katz says Bennett is complicit in the impending demolition because he is staying in the Coalition, rather than leaving it now.

"I call on the Knesset members of Bayit Yehudi to convene immediately and depose Naftali Bennett from all of his functions in the leadership of the party, because of the impending destruction of the Torah world and demolition of the settlement enterprise that we are facing,” the former leader of the religious Zionist party wrote on his Facebook page.

"Bennett knows, just as I do, that Bibi-Livni-Kerry-Abu Mazen have already agreed on an interim agreement in which, 8 months from now, the Jewish communities around Shechem will be razed.

"Just as Bennett knew about the harsh cut in funding for yeshivas and Torah educational institutes, and told his faction and the heads of the institutions that nothing would happen, just to keep them quiet, so today, Bennett is hiding the great threat to the settlement enterprise from everyone today.

"Everyone now knows that Bennett's messages of calm were baseless. 66% of the funding for the Torah world was cut, and the same thing will happen now if the Bayit Yehudi postpones Bennett's dismissal until the presentation of the agreement for destruction of communities.

"By then it will be too late, and our public will again have to face the same horrific sights that it experienced only 8 years ago in Gaza and northern Samaria," he said, referring to the forced deportation of 9,000 Jews from Gaza and four communities in Samaria during the 2005 "Disengagement."

Katz called on the party to "fix what has been twisted and immediately conduct negotiations with its natural partners in the hareidi parties, for their entry into the government instead of Lapid.”

Katz was referring to Yair Lapid, the head of the Yesh Atid party, currently the second largest Knesset faction with 19 seats. He envisions a coalition in which the hareidi parties, which number 18 MKs together, would take Lapid's place.

Bayit Yehudi was formed in a merger between parts of the National Union and the National Religious Party prior to the last elections, following Bennett's election as head of the party. Bennett has been widely credited with reviving the religious-Zionist political bloc, which prior to the merger had only 7 seats between the two parties - just over half of the combined list's twelve seats today.

But there has been a growing sense of unease among many Bayit Yehudi supporters surrounding Bennett's decision to ally the party with the center-left Yesh Atid party on the issue of equal army service, which entails the ending of the blanket exemption for hareidi yeshiva students.