Jewish Home MKs: Do Not Divide Religious Zionism

Jewish Home MKs call on Tekuma members to remain in the party and accept chairman Naftali Bennett's proposal to join without primaries.

Orly Harari, Cynthia Blank,

Yoni Chetboun with fellow Jewish Home MKs
Yoni Chetboun with fellow Jewish Home MKs
Flash 90

Amidst speculation of a split, Jewish Home Knesset members issued a letter Saturday night to three members of Tekuma calling on their members to remain united with Jewish Home and not form a new party.  

The letter was titled: "Do not divide the Religious Zionist movement - accept the proposal of Party Chairman Naftali Bennett." 

"Religious Zionism finds itself today on the brink of a historic decision," Jewish Home members wrote in the letter. "The coming elections may bring Jewish Home unprecedented influence." 

"This is not a political statement; it is a statement that can in fact determine the borders of our country, the meaning of the term "Jewish State," and the shattering of the glass ceiling of wearing yarmulkes." 

"It is true there are different shades of Religious Zionism, but everyone - of all shades - support Jewish Home today," the letter stressed.  

"Throughout the last term, we worked admirably together. We were the most united, cohesive, and efficient of all the Knesset factions. And we always knew to keep in-house divisions away from other parties and the public."

"Abandoning ship, whether it will harm Jewish Home or not, does not add anything to Religious Zionism. It is dangerous and unnecessary." 

The letter then shifted tone to the practical matter of upcoming elections. "On the table is a proposal allowing you to enter the list - but not through primaries. It is not an easy proposal. We would prefer you to have primaries, as we do." 

"Rabbi Eli [Ben-Dahan], who signed this letter, made the plunge [to join Jewish Home] and to have his position on the list determined by the public in Jewish Home primaries." 

"In the current situation, we agreed with heavy heart to the chairman's proposal. We will not accept another offer and there is no reason for another proposal because this proposal leaves, God willing, all members of Tekuma in the next Knesset." 

"At this time when the left unites and their call resonates with an increasing part of our country, we need to look forward to the tasks required of the nationalist camp. It's time to engage wholeheartedly in the campaign." 

"Lighting Hanukkah candles symbolizes the unity of our people. Our role at this time is to light the candles and bring forth light," the letter concluded. 

The letter was signed by Uri Orbach, Nissan Slomiansky, Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Avi Wortzman, Ayelet Shaked, Shuli Mualem, and Moti Yogev. Yoni Chetboun was the only Jewish Home MK not to sign. This may be an indication of Chetboun's possible split from the party to join Uri Ariel. 

When announcing he would not sign the letter, Chetboun stated: "This letter is intended to bend the hand of Uri Ariel and force him to divorce the Religious Zionist rabbis, including the rabbis of Tekuma." 

"I would be happy to sign such a letter when there are formulated goals and values as well as a clarification of the role of Torah knowledge in religious Zionism," Chetboun noted. 




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