Bennett Blasé Over Jewish Home-Tekuma Tensions

Bennett allegedly says in private conversations that Tekuma-Yachad list would help right-wing bloc; Tekuma to decide Saturday on split.

Uzi Baruch ,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett told his associates in private conversations that he has no problem with Housing Minister Uri Ariel and his Tekuma/National Union faction joining MK Eli Yishai's Yachad party, according to Channel 10

Bennett allegedly noted that Tekuma joining Yachad will ensure that Yachad passes the Knesset threshold; recent polls have noted that Yachad stands to gain just three seats in the 20th Knesset, barely missing the threshold.  

Overall, the move would be positive, Bennett said - by saving a key element of the hareidi-Zionist (or "hardal") bloc, ensuring that Binyamin Netanyahu could form a new coalition if Likud gains a majority of mandates. Yishai was associated with the more "right-wing" elements of Shas, while his arc-rival and current Shas chairman Aryeh Deri is seen as more left-leaning.

Tekuma and Jewish Home have been at odds lately, with Tekuma sources this week explaining that there is a religious divide between the two factions.

According to them, Jewish Home's controversial decision to actively court the secular and Druze public threatens to remove the Torah core principles from the party. They pointed to the slew of anti-religious legislation in the last Knesset and warned that if the Jewish nature of the party is watered down it likely will no longer be interested in properly defending the Jewish nature of the state.

If Tekuma breaks off from Jewish Home, it is expected to join with former Shas chairperson Eli Yishai's new Yachad party (the name of the party has yet to be finalized). Ariel and Yishai have been discussing the possibility of a joint run extensively.

One hundred members of Tekuma will gather in Bayit Vegan in Jerusalem later Saturday night to make the final decision regarding elections, with the option to either remain with Jewish Home, to split and form a separate party, or to split and join with Yachad. 

Ofir Sofer, director general of Tekuma, told Arutz Sheva ahead of the meeting that the decision could have a long-lasting impact on the national-religious community. 

"The question of a continued partnership with Jewish Home is significant for the Religious-Zionist community," Sofer stated. "Tekuma is the party that represents the values and works to promote [national-religious interests] in the public [sphere], therefore it has to work within the political framework appropriate to give it the widest sphere of influence."