Ministers Naftali Bennett and Uri Ariel have agreed to begin talks on a permanent union between the Bayit Yehudi-New National Religious Party and the National Union-Tekuma.
The talks are scheduled to begin in the coming days and will continue until a permanent unity agreement is reached and the two parties are integrated into one.
Before the last election, an agreement was reached between the Bayit Yehudi and Tekuma which saw the two parties run together on one joint list for the Knesset, under the Bayit Yehudi name.
The agreement that was signed between Bennett and Ariel before the elections called for discussions on a permanent union after the election, a process which is now underway.
In the previous Knesset, the two parties ran separately, with the National Union being headed by Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz. That list had four MKs in the last Knesset: Katz, Ariel, Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari. The Bayit Yehudi, then headed by Rabbi Professor Daniel Hershkowitz, had three MKs: Hershkowitz, Zevulun Orlev and Uri Orbach.
The joint Tekuma-Bayit Yehudi list proved to be a success, winning 12 Knesset seats in last January’s election and entering the government, receiving several key ministerial posts.
Bennett said on Thursday that "Bayit Yehudi has grown and has opened itself to other sectors, and the unity is our base to continue to grow and grow. The way to strengthen the Jewish identity of the State of Israel is by having a strong national bloc. The union between the two parties has proven itself, and enabled us to reach key influential positions that had never before been held by religious Zionism, and we will continue to work for unity even in the next election.”
Ariel said of the unity that the "land of Israel needs full unity among all those who love it, and we will fulfill this. Thanks to our unity we are able to stand firm today for the land of Israel. We have much in common and we will work for unity before the next elections. This is what our public wants - and rightly so.”