Hershkowitz Israel news photo: file

The Chairman of the Jewish Home faction, Minister of Science and Technology Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, sent a letter Wednesday to the head of the National Union, MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh), in which he presented a vision for reunification of the two factions. MK Katz has called for such a unification on numerous occasions. The two parties were united for a brief period before the last general elections but then split up and ran separately.

The letter reads as follows:

To the Hon. MK Yaakov Katz

Chairman, National Union

Re: Political Unification of Religious Zionism

I write to you with a torn and burning heart, when the Jewish settlement movement in the Land of Israel is dealing with harsh decrees, and sizable parts of Israeli society and its political representation are renouncing the values of Zionism. I am writing to you following our joint efforts to unite and solidify the ranks.

One year ago, I was called up from the academic and rabbinical world to head the Jewish Home. I decided to make the move in order to fulfill a vision of a unified political home for religious Zionism. Unfortunately, the unification move ended prematurely, but I think that the dream has not been abandoned, and the matter depends on us alone.

As you know, the Jewish Home movement is currently making preparations for a process of democratization, which will include a thorough census of members and the election of a central party committee that will include representatives from all layers of religious Zionism. A document of principles for these processes has already been published and I intend to use all of my power to make sure it is implemented without delay.

I am convinced that we have a golden opportunity at this time to carry out the democratization process jointly, and to engage in joint thought and consultation regarding the members' census and the election of a joint central party committee. There is no reason for religious Zionism, which presently faces daunting challenges from within and without, to have weakened and divided parliamentary representation.

I call upon ourselves, and all those who share the vision of religious Zionism, and who place at the basis of their values the combination of Torah and a life of creativity and settlement here in our land, to join us in building the large religious-Zionist party, and to accelerate this real move, which we have begun. True, the religious-Zionist public is heterogeneous, but it is obvious that the common denominator is a wide one, and there is more uniting us than separating us. Why should we prevent this public from having its due power, by failing to unite as a large political body?

To my regret, and as you have recently pointed out, the latest struggles which we have had to wage from inside the coalition, even if we were successful in some of them, proved that religious Knesset members in other parties cannot exert influence on matters dear to the heart of the religious public, and that these parties have no problem reneging on promises made during the elections. There is no value to “takeovers” of parties, that rid themselves of any element with a religious-Zionist agenda that is too obvious. It is clear, too, that a substantial part of our potential voters opted for other parties because they were sick of the virus of divisiveness, and this is an opportunity for some great tidings that will enable them to return home, to a party with serious political strength, that will be a leading partner in the country's leadership. 

Let us return and take part in the building of a large and strong religious Zionist party that will advance the principles of Torah and labor, settlement and spiritual vigor, born of national pride and fear of G-d.

Rabbi Professor Daniel Hershkowitz

Minister of Science and Technology