Jewish Home, National Union agree to joint election campaign

The two Religious Zionist parties agree to set up joint headquarters to coordinate election campaign.

Tzvi Lev ,

Chairman Smotrich
Chairman Smotrich
Flash 90

The Jewish Home and National Union parties have reached an agreement and will establish a team run by representatives of both parties to coordinate their electoral campaign for the April elections.

According to the Srugim website, the team will be co-head by Jewish Home Director-General Nir Auerbach and incoming National Union CEO Yehuda Vald.

The agreement comes as the Jewish Home is still searching for a leader to replace former head Naftali Bennett, who left the party last month in order to create the New Right together with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. Earlier this week, the Jewish Home's Central Committee voted to annul the primaries and will pick a leader via an agreement by senior party officials.

The National Union is headed by MK Betzalel Smotrich, who defeated Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel earlier this month in the race for the party's leadership.

Founded in 1999 as an amalgamation of smaller right-wing and national-religious parties, the National Union currently includes the Tekuma faction – which broke off from the Jewish Home’s predecessor, the National Religious Party – and Moledet, which endorsed the voluntary transfer of Palestinian Arabs out of the country.

The two parties have not always run together and have previously split off before reuniting anew. In 2006, the National Union ran jointly with the NRP, but split off again in 2009, when the NRP became the Jewish Home party. In 2009, the National Union won four seats, to the Jewish Home’s three.

In 2013 and 2015, the parties ran on a joint list, with the Tekuma faction of National Union receiving two seats in 2015, compared to six seats for Jewish Home faction members.

Recent reports have said that Smotrich has been holding negotiations with the Otzma Yehudit party for a joint run amid attempts to prevent a loss of seats for right-wing parties that do not pass the electoral threshold.