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Jewish Home MK Warns Constitution Will Split Party

MK Yogev writes to party constitution committee, urges removal of 'excess authority' to Bennett 'that don't exist in any democratic party.'
By Hezki Ezra, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 9/3/2014, 8:03 PM

Moti Yogev
Moti Yogev
Flash 90

Jewish Home MK Moti Yogev on Wednesday wrote to his party's committee that is to approve a controversial new constitution next week, warning that if passed, the constitution threatens to split Jewish Home apart.

"I appreciate you all and your dedication to renewing the Jewish Home party constitution," opened Yogev cordially in the letter, which was received by Arutz Sheva.

However, Yogev quickly got to the point, writing "together with that, and despite the fact that you made several amendments on the previous draft, this constitution draft still...gives excess authority to the party chairman (Naftali Bennett), authority that doesn't exist in any public and democratic party in Israel."

Yogev revealed Bennett would receive the authority to place four candidates of his choosing in the top 15 spots on the party's Knesset list, to appoint five of the nine members of the party secretariat, and to personally appoint 80 members of the party central commitee.

The MK also enumerated that Bennett would get the power to shorten the 2.5 year membership qualification period to the party list for those he wants to, as well as "excess authority in the selection of party institutions: the presidency, the legal court, the inspection committee, the arrangement of the election committee office."

Those authorities also include "other privileges reserved for the chairman alone, which are removed in the proposed constitution from the ability of the public to influence them."

"The sweeping granting of selection authority to the chairman in the constitution can cause a loss of faith among the wider religious Zionist community, and even cause a struggle splitting (the party), and not preserving the unity in the wider religious Zionist camp," warned Yogev.

In this context, it is worth noting that a Jewish Home inside source told Arutz Sheva on condition of anonymity two weeks ago that Bennett's office is trying to reduce the influence of the religious public in the party. Instead, the source said Bennet wants to focus on the secular public in an attempt to increase political power, even at the cost of losing the support of religious members.

Mismanagement and secrecy

The MK further noted problems with the management of the constitution committee, "which wasn't at all selected as required by the currently active constitution, (but rather) selected as a continuous committee whose members are chosen in private secret selections."

"There was not even a single party discussion on the topic of the proposed constitution, and while time was given to address the constitution, it was (still) done under time pressure with short notice to present reservations," added Yogev.

The decision to give "unbalanced" authority to make important decisions "in the hands of one man" is "not appropriate" according to Yogev, who emphasized that religious Zionism is a public movement.

In his letter, Yogev suggested numerous changes throughout the constitution so as to remove the excessive authority given to the party chairman that he opposes.

For example, the MK suggested that instead of being able to select four candidates for the first 15 places on the party Knesset list that power be limited to choosing the sixth spot on the list. He also suggested sending more public notices to members of the party to increase their ability to take part in party meetings.

In conclusion, Yogev wrote "the spirit of religious Zionism is derived from the values of the Torah, the (Jewish) people, the land (of Israel) and the state. The power of religious Zionism comes from its values, its unity, and from its democracy. If we guard those things - we will increase our strength and public influence on the people and the state."