Hevron: Right-Wing Activists Egg Housing Minister's Car
Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) had eggs thrown at his car during a visit to Hevron on Friday. Once there, Ariel faced severe criticism from right-wing activists over his party's continued presence in a government that is discussing withdrawals from 90% of Judea and Samaria.
Hevron resident and activist Baruch Marzel approached Ariel during his visit, accusing him with the stinging words: "traitor! In order to be a minister you betrayed the land of Israel, the Torah, and everything that Uri Ariel believed before he became a minister."
Ariel reportedly was left in shocked silence by the reproach, and proceeded to leave the area.
Right-wing activists said Friday that Ariel "crossed all red lines," and that the protest against him will just increase.
The accusations against Jewish Home follow the criticism leveled on Tuesday by former MK Michael Ben-Ari, who joined forces with Marzel under the Otzma Leyisrael list which didn't get into the Knesset during the last elections.
Ben-Ari accused Jewish Home of selling out their values, saying they have "destroyed Judaism and turned it into folklore." His criticism follows attacks on Jewish Home and Likud Beytenu for voting for or abstaining from the vote on a bill granting equal tax benefits to same-sex couples that was recently passed. Bennett voted for the bill while the rest of Jewish Home abstained.
A compromise was reached in the bill by which same-sex couples would receive equal tax breaks but not through official recognition in the legislation, sparing Jewish Home from being perceived as officially condoning same-sex marriage.
Last December, Ben-Ari criticized Jewish Home for not leaving the coalition over the repeated release of terrorist murderers, arguing "whoever doesn't leave the government of blood that frees predators who burned and murdered babies, women and men in an intoxication of murder, will not leave the government, even when they expel and uproot Jews."
Jewish Home has also drawn flak for not appearing to vote on a bill preventing withdrawals from Jerusalem without the support of 80 MKs, a bill that consequently was defeated.
The party has continually defended its presence in the government, saying it was achieving a lot more from within than without. Party officials say that leaving the coalition over prisoner releases - which its MKs have consistently voted against - would pave the way for the left-wing Labor party to join and make it far likelier that the Likud-led government would agree to major concessions with the Palestinian Authority. Just last month, a senior Labor party official confirmed his party would put aside its other differences with the coalition and join if Jewish Home left, in order to push through an agreement with the PA.
Jewish Home officials have also made clear that the would bolt the coalition if the government decided to give away parts of Judea and Samaria, saying it was their "red line".