Bennett wins Jewish Home primaries

Minister of Education to continue to lead Jewish Home. "We are embarking on a journey that will lead us to the leadership of Israel."

Yoni Kempinski ,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash 90

Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday evening won the primaries for the leadership of the Jewish Home party, and will continue to head the party over the next several years.

Bennett won by an overwhelming majority of 80.3%. 15,701 out of 30,734 (50.67%) of the members of the Jewish Home party exercised their right to vote in 68 polling stations around the country.

"I thank the voters of the Jewish Home for giving me the privilege to lead the party to the next elections, who chose to continue the revolution," said Bennett after the results were published.

"Today we laid the cornerstone for the path towards the leadership of the state. Anyone who believes in our values, this home belongs to him. There is a room in our home for everyone. We are embarking on a journey that will eventually lead us to the leadership of the State of Israel. The revolution will continue thanks to you," Bennett added.

Jewish Home Director-General Nir Orbach said, “I wish success to my friend Minister Naftali Bennett, who will continue to lead the Jewish Home party. l thank Jonathan Baransky and Rabbi Yitzhak Zaga for their participation in the democratic process and for all those who voted and for the trust they have placed in the process and the party. We are continuing forward to future challenges and achievements.”

National Union chairman and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel responded to the results of the primaries and said, "I congratulate Naftali for his reelection as chairman of the Jewish Home. Now is the time to sit together and agree on unity and on the running together of the Jewish Home and the National Union in the next elections.”

"Our public demands unity. Unity is the right thing on the moral level and this is the way to grow in the number of mandates and to expand and deepen the influence of religious Zionism and the national camp,” he continued.

Bennett had earlier called on party members to come out and vote, adding that a weak mandate for the Jewish Home's leader would only hurt the party.

In a statement issued by Bennett to party members, he referred to voices from the field calling for primary voters to "punish" Bennett by voting for the other candidates in the primaries.

"If you punish me, it creates a handicap [for the party], and it will then be more difficult for us, the Jewish Home, to stand up during struggles [for religion and Zionism]. This weakens us in the real struggle for the People of Israel, the Land of Israel and the Torah of Israel,” he warned.

"Therefore I ask - give me the strength and the backing, and what needs to be corrected, I will correct. Give me the strength to work hard for you and for the entire Jewish people."