Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan:
'Jewish Home needs mergers for its continued existence'

Former MK Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan has not yet decided whether to run for party leadership, but calls for joining National Union, then Yamina.

Nitzan Kedar ,

Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan
Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan
Arutz Sheva

Former Knesset Member and minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan tells Arutz Sheva that he has not yet decided whether to run in the internal elections announced by the Jewish Home Party.

"In recent weeks, I received inquiries from all sorts of parties to run. I'm considering the matter and will decide in the near future," Ben Dahan adds.

He notes that the electorate is smaller than expected, which has implications at the political level. "These are not primaries, because those are held for the open public. At the moment, there's talk of elections between the Central Committee's members, which number about 950 people, and not between all party functionaries, who are over 30,000.

"The Central Committee is a small body and has more options to influence the choice of candidate, especially in the face of the possibility of being elected in a body that includes tens of thousands. Within the Central Committee there are different groups, large and strong branches," he noted.

Ben Dahan does not hide the fact that he is considering joining forces with former MK Moti Yogev. "We met and talked between us, and it is quite possible that we will join forces. Once I decide on the future, I'll know what connections to make. After all, in such a reality, only connections with large cadres or party branches can lead to success."

At the same time, he maintains regular contact with party Chairman Rabbi Rafi Peretz. "I met with Rabbi Peretz several times n the past month at his request, and I've been one of those who have pushed to promote this move and even set deadlines for internal elections. I guess it will happen soon, once we know more precisely if there will be an election. I think we are taking the right step here, which is inescapable.

"The Jewish Home has lost its power, prestige, and trust in the three election campaigns, and in order to restore trust, moves must be made in which the general public is united. The party has a very broad infrastructure - over 100 city council members and deputies - and we have one mayor. There are many activists who need to be harnessed back," Ben Dahan noted.

He is aware of Jewish Home's difficult situation of the in the polls: "I personally strongly believe in the ideology of religious Zionism, and in my opinion it's especially important for the State of Israel. Woe to the State if it doesn't have political representation of religious Zionism that on the one hand sees the State as the fulfillment of the vision of the Prophets, and on the other hand knows how to plant the sacred within the secular. It is clear that because of the political reality we've encountered, there's no escape from mergers.

"Personally, in my opinion, the first merger should be with the National Union, which is a sister party and also represents religious Zionism, and from there a merger with Yamina, that is the body closest to religious Zionism. Unfortunately, we've rolled into a situation where Jewish Home cannot pass the electoral threshold. I believe that the potential of religious Zionism is far beyond 4 seats, but what's happened in recent years has led to a reality of mistrust between the public and the leadership, and therefore there's no choice but to reach mergers from all directions.

"Anyone with eyes in his head understands that running Jewish Home alone will be hopeless and mergers will be much more correct. I am personally a man of connections and see this as a worthy line and mission," Ben Dahan concludes.