Tzipi Hotovely asked to lead Jewish Home

Jewish Home party offered Dep. Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely leadership of party. Why did she reject the offer?

Shimon Cohen ,

ציפי חוטובלי
ציפי חוטובלי
צילום: יונתן סינדל, פלאש 90

The Jewish Home offered Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) leadership of the party if she bolted from the Likud, Hotovely told Arutz Sheva.

Since the departure of party chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, the Jewish Home has struggled in the polls, often failing to clear the electoral threshold.

Without a party chairman, the Jewish Home has averaged roughly three seats in recent Knesset polls – shy of the 3.25% threshold to enter the Knesset, equivalent to 3.9 seats-worth of votes.

In their search for a new leader, party activists appealed to Hotovely on multiple occasions, offering her leadership of the Jewish Home if she would leave the Likud.

Speaking with Arutz Sheva Tuesday, Hotovely said she turned down the offers, saying she believes the Likud, ultimately, is the ideal political home for the Religious Zionist community.

“A number of leading rabbis [in the Religious Zionist] community turned to me – leading yeshiva deans – and said that given the [political] crisis the Religious Zionist movement now finds itself in following the departure of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, they want me to accept responsibility for the community which I grew up in.

“But I’ll say it now openly that I refused their offers. A decade ago, I chose the Likud. I believe that the place for Religious Zionism is within the Likud, which is a large party with also has the most traditional and religious people. The more Religious Zionist people in the Likud, I believe, the better the interests of the community will be served, like teaching [students] to love the Torah and the Land of Israel. It is a national party that identifies with these values.

“Some of the people who turned to me approached me in person, while others called me on the phone, telling me they felt that there was no leadership [in the Jewish Home], and that there needs to be a politically savvy person with Religious Zionist values, and that they respect me and see me as a representative of the [Religious Zionist] community despite my being in the Likud, and that it would be natural for me to take the reins of power [in the Jewish Home].

“Despite the very well-intentioned appeals, I made it very clear to all of them that I intend to stay in the Likud and run for a term as Education Minister with the goal of bringing about major changes in the ministry.”