Rabbi Elon Says No to Head Comprise NRP - National Union List

Rabbi Mordechai Elon, one of Israel’s most popular and respected Rabbinic figures and educators, has rejected an appeal by the NRP and the National Union party to head a joint Knesset list.

Scott Shiloh , | updated: 15:17

Both the NRP (National Religious Party) and the National Union have been bickering for months over an elusive formula for uniting the parties ahead of Israel’s general election, scheduled for late March.

Rabbi Elon notified party leaders of his decision at a joint meeting last week, attended by the heads of the NRP, MK’s Zvulun Orlev and Shaul Yahalom, and the leaders of the National Union, MK’s Benny Elon and Tvi Hendel. Benny Elon, chairman of the National Union, is Rabbi Mordechai’s brother.

After the meeting, Orlev, the NRP’s chairman, said that the negotiations with the National Union would succeed, only when the latter was willing to compromise. Orlev’s spokesman said Orlev has ordered the NRP’s campaign staff to start preparing to compete separately in the upcoming elections.

A number of right-wing leaders, including Rabbis and other activists, had opposed placing Rabbi Elon at the head of a joint list. These leaders claim that Rabbi Elon’s conduct during the disengagement plan weakened the struggle to preclude the destruction of 25 Jewish communities in Gaza and northern Samaria.

Rabbi Elon had strongly and publicly opposed efforts to block highways as a means to protest the disengagement, equating such actions with launching a civil war.

Elon’s opponents claim that he did not endorse the calls of prominent Rabbis to refuse military orders connected with implementing the disengagement.

Some campaign strategists contend that putting Rabbi Elon at the head of a joint list would cause many potential voters to defect to the National Front, a new party set up by Baruch Marzel.

Moreover, a leading supporter of Rabbi Elon’s candidacy, Tzvi Hendel, has been the butt of critics who claim that he backed the move without consulting his party’s central committee or its Rabbinic advisors.

Despite his decision to stay clear of electoral politics, Rabbi Elon, who heads Yishivat HaKotel in Jerusalem’s Old City, and the Breishit movement, said he would continue working for the public’s welfare and to strengthen Israeli society.

Rabbi Elon said that non-parliamentary activity was the best way to promote the ideals of social justice and public integrity, as well as Jewish identity and education, the land of Israel, the nation and the state.

He added that he would continue his efforts to increase unity and brotherhood among the Jewish people.