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Bennett: United we Stood, Divided we Fell

Bayit Yehudi head says party’s successes and failures in local elections are a lesson to the Religious Zionist community.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 10/24/2013, 1:29 PM

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Flash 90

Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett, head of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, expressed satisfaction Thursday with the results of the nationwide municipal elections this week.

While the results were mixed, Bayit Yehudi came out ahead overall, with a total of 106 representatives in 34 towns, compared to 78 representatives before, he told Arutz Sheva.

He noted that Alon Davidi, the newly elected Mayor of Sderot, won support from Bayit Yehudi before he convinced his own Likud party, as well as the Labor party, to support him as well.

Davidi thanked Bayit Yehudi for its support after the elections, and said, “We will find ways to show our appreciation for the support from Bayit Yehudi and Naftali Bennett. To me, they are my brothers. We’ll be with Naftali Bennett the whole way.”

In Jerusalem, however, where Bayit Yehudi was split going into the elections, the party suffered defeat. The Bayit Yehudi list supported by the party’s national leaders won just one seat, while the competing United Jerusalem (Yerushalayim Meuchedet) list won two seats.

“In Jerusalem, like in another few places, there was division. My lesson: where we were united, we succeeded, and where we didn’t manage to unite, we paid a very heavy price,” he said.

“This is an important lesson for all of us in the religious-Zionist community about how important it is to unite,” he declared.

Bennett also spoke about an interesting incident in the majority-hareidi city of Elad. Supporters of candidate Yisrael Porush were concerned as voter turnout remained low in the city into Tuesday afternoon. They turned to Bennett, who recorded a short message calling on religious voters to come vote for Porush; within an hour, voter turnout had doubled.

Yisrael Porush, son of hareidi MK Meir Porush, was victorious in the elections, and later called Bennett to thank him for his support.

Explaining why he got involved in a competition between hareidi candidates, Bennett said, “We cooperate with the hareidi [parties]. In Tel Aviv we had full cooperation with Shas and the Ashkenazi hareidi Jews, and it was a success. We hope we’ll have more cooperation like that on the national level.”

Tension between Bayit Yehudi and hareidi-religious parties has subsided, he added. “The hareidi parties want to cooperate… There’s a lot of good will,” he announced.