The Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party must stay in the government even when that means facing unpleasant compromises, party head Minister Naftali Bennett said Monday night, speaking to supporters in the city of Haifa.
However, he assured activists, “We will protect the land of Israel at any price.”
As the Bayit Yehudi party grows, it loses the “privileges” granted to smaller parties, Bennett explained. For one thing, he said, the party must now care for the entire nation with its many and varied ethnic and religious sects, and not only for the religious-Zionist community.
For another, he said, the party cannot leave the coalition at the first sign of trouble. “We can’t say ‘there’s going to be a bump in the road, I’m leaving, I’m turning back, I don’t like this," he declared.
But supporters should not worry that Bayit Yehudi will be tricked into supporting a government that plans to make massive land concessions, he said, “Our eyes are open, we know what’s going on, and we will protect our nation and our land.”
Bennett also clarified his party’s economic platform – and the difference between his views and those of Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who heads the Yesh Atid party.
“Our focus isn’t on Riki Cohen with 20,000 shekels,” he said, a reference to Lapid’s concern for “average Israelis” in the upper middle class. “Our focus is on the one-half of the country that earns under 6,000 shekels.”
Bayit Yehudi recently succeeded in improving conditions for the employees of cleaning companies, Bennett noted.
Bennett and Bayit Yehudi MKs Ayelet Shaked and Yoni Chetboun all spoke in Haifa in a show of support for the party’s local faction, which is aiming to increase its number of seats on the Haifa city council.The party’s front-running local candidates – Shai Blumenthal, Paz Glickman, and Galit Amihud – all spoke as well.
The local representatives emphasized their goals of improving education, helping locals get the services they need, bringing more young families to Haifa, and restoring the Hadar neighborhood, a central Haifa neighborhood that has been on the rebound from a slide into poverty and crime.