MK Ayelet Shaked, the Chairwoman of Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home), stated in an interview to Arutz 7 today (Friday) that the full-blown attack on Bayit Yehudi in the past week is the result of a finely-tuned, strategic, political process of delegitimization.
"There are political causes and communications here that work together with a political agenda that loves to strike back at the political Right and their ideology," Shaked said. "This is incitement like we haven't seen in a few years - perhaps during the Disengagement [from Gaza, in 2005] - and it's all because we think differently and have different political interests than they."
Shaked refers to a number of strong political attacks against the Religious Zionist party in the past week, over a number of issues. Among them include Bayit Yehudi's vote against Tuesday's terrorist release, the party's backing of a civil marriage bill, and their public support of building more Jewish neighborhoods in Judea and Samaria.
Shaked elaborates that the HaTnua party, and its head, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, have launched a smear campaign against Bayit Yehudi. "MK Mitzna has implicated us in incitement because we tried to enact laws against more terrorist releases. Is advancing a new law a form of incitement?" Shaked asks. "We only use democratic means - introducing bills, organizing protests, etc. - but they continue to rally incitement against us."
Shaked stressed that Bayit Yehudi is not concerned that other parties, e.g. Labor and Shas, will replace them in the coalition. Rather, she maintains that the campaign has been deliberately advanced by HaTnua and Likud. "Likud's role is political, to advance their own two-state, two-nation agenda through terrorist releases," she claims. "They want to legitimize their plans to voters, but this crosses the line."
As for whether Bayit Yehudi will continue to be part of a coalition government, Shaked reiterates that lines have clearly been drawn in the sand. While they do not plan on leaving the coalition after this week, Shaked did emphasize that the party "would not be involved in land withdrawals - not in an interim agreement, and not in a permanent agreement."
Regarding reports that Bayit Yehudi head Naftali Bennett expressed support for the terrorist release and then retracted it, Shaked states that this simply never happened. "The situation was that it was an hour before Shabbat began, Netanyahu told Bennett that this was the situation and his decision and asked for Bennett's feedback. Bennett clarified that while he would not leave the coalition over the decision or resign from his post over it, that he was absolutely against it. That night, negotiations began."
As for possible plans for the Prime Minister to replace Bayit Yehudi, Shaked admits that it's difficult to know exactly what will happen. "While legally Netanyahu could switch us or have us relegated to the Opposition - Netanyahu can legally do that to us - it's not on the agenda, even if it's difficult to forsee what will happen in the world of politics."