Pro Land of Israel Parties Planning to Run in a Unified List

Knesset Member Uri Ariel foresees a unified parliamentary list of several pro Land of Israel parties ahead of the coming Knesset elections.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz ,

MK Uri Ariel
MK Uri Ariel
photo: file

Ahead of the coming Knesset elections, Member of Knesset Uri Ariel (National Union-National Religious Party) foresees a unified parliamentary list of several parties which maintain Jewish rights to sovereignty over all parts of the Land of Israel. The Shas party's latest declaration of support for disbanding the Knesset makes the unity talks all the more urgent.

Speaking on Arutz Sheva Radio on Thursday, MK Ariel said that the constituent parties of his parliamentary
The parties have already established a timetable for unification talks.
faction "are doing what is needed and necessary among ourselves, which is to unify the parties - towards which, I can say, there has been great progress." He explained that the leadership of the parties have already established a timetable for unity talks, "such that we will not come together only at the last minute before the coming elections, but now."

The parties currently renegotiating a unification agreement include the National Religious Party and the constituent member parties of the National Union: Moledet, Achi, and MK Ariel's Tekumah faction.

The early engineering of their common political structure, Ariel added, will have direct consequences not only on the expected upcoming national elections, but also in the coming municipal elections in November 2008, in which they plan to run candidates on a joint ticket.

'Unity is a Value'
Among the central issues under discussion in the coming days, Ariel said, is the method for selecting Knesset representatives among the various constituent parties of the National Union and the National Religious Party. Asked about ideological differences that had to be bridged, Ariel replied:

"It seems to me that was never a matter of great dispute. The fact is, we have been working together already for quite some time in harmony. Every once in a while someone may want to place greater emphasis on the social welfare issues or on the issue of the Land of Israel - that is not a substantial matter, but we discussed and settled that as well. I'd also like to point out that the issue of internal elections is also a matter of substance, not just a technicality. It is a question of how far to take the collaboration."

The guiding principles of the combined parliamentary list, MK Ariel explained later in the interview, are, "in one sentence, the Land of Israel for the People of Israel according to the Torah of Israel, along with involvement in matters of education, social welfare, etc."

When asked if the parties considering running together don't fear a dilution of their drawing power among voters, Ariel replied that the analysis they have carried out thus far shows that only tiny groups on the extreme ends of the various factions may be put off by the alliance. The vast majority of voters who favor Israeli sovereignty over its homeland, he claimed, do want political unity.

"Unity is a value in and of itself," Ariel continued, "and it encourages people to join in and to take part in the work at hand. We certainly need to recruit everyone for the sake of the [national] elections, whenever they will be."
MK Ariel dismissed the new and untested Hatikva party of MK Aryeh Eldad.

As for unity with the secular parties which promote Jewish sovereignty in Israel, MK Ariel dismissed the new and untested Hatikva party of MK Aryeh Eldad as representing "a few hundred people" and said, "We made a strategic decision several months ago that the new [unified] party will be open to secular traditionalists as well, who will then, of course, be represented among the Knesset members differently than today, as well as in all of the party institutions. We see this issue as a priority and not just for these elections. We are seeking to lead the nation and it is clear that in order to do so, we need a much larger public, many more voters, on a broader scale."

Ariel said that the unified party would approach other existing parties, perhaps including Hatikva, and individual political leaders, such as MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud), to create "a large, expansive home party that will soon lead the State of Israel. Even if it doesn't happen in the coming year, it is a process and something that one must aspire to, and, God willing, we will reach it soon."