MK Michael Ben Ari
MK Michael Ben Ari Israel news photo: Flash 90

MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) announced on Thursday that he would be leaving the National Union party and would be running in the upcoming elections in a separate list alongside MK Aryeh Eldad.

Speaking to Radio Kol Chai, Ben-Ari said, “I do not see myself as belonging to the national religious bloc. I am national religious but I think religious Zionism is past its time as a political sector.”

He added, "I am coordinated with MK Aryeh Eldad. We have a plan to run together and unite with those who align themselves with the ideological line of the whole land of Israel.”

The National Union and the Jewish Home parties have announced their intention to run in a combined slate in the next elections. Last month, National Union leader MK Ya’akov “Ketzaleh” Katz signed an agreement with Naftali Bennett, who is running for the position of leader of the Jewish Home party, to form a joint list for the next Knesset.

It is likely that the new agreement will result in Ben-Ari and Eldad not being in a realistic spot on the joint list that would guarantee that they will be a part of the next Knesset. Eldad has in the past formed his own party, Hatikvah, which ran as part of the National Union in the 2009 election.

“We will be announcing an independent run and provide the public with data,” said Ben-Ari. “It should be understood that my running separately adds power to audiences that have never been reached before.”

Ben-Ari criticized the National Union party and said, “The reality now is that they know that ‘Ben-Ari’ is worth more than the two or three votes that each one of them brings. Wherever I go I bring 40-50 thousand votes with me. That's why they want me with them. They want me as a 'tail' so they throw me to the eighth or ninth spot on the list? Am I your tail that you can wag? Does my ideology not deserve a say in the leadership of such a united list?”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)