Rabbi Yaakov Meidan
Rabbi Yaakov Meidan Hillel Meir/TPS

A prominent national-religious rabbi issued an unusual demand Thursday for a possible joint run between the Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit.

Speaking on Israel Radio Thursday, Rabbi Yaakov Meidan, dean of the Har Etzion, said that he would accept a joint run between the Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit – but only if Otzma Yehudit’s Itamar Ben-Gvir removes a picture of Baruch Goldstein from his private residence.

Recent polls show the Jewish Home and National Union struggling to clear the electoral threshold – even if they run on a joint list. A party must win 3.25% of the vote to enter the Knesset, or else see its votes divided up amongst the remaining parties.

Some party activists have suggested a joint run with Otzma Yehudit, which is led by supporters of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, including Baruch Marzel, former MK Michael Ben-Ari, and attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir.

But Rabbi Meidan pushed back on the idea of running with Otzma, calling Ben-Gvir’s support for Baruch Goldstein a deal-breaker.

Baruch Goldstein
Baruch Goldstein Flash90

“I totally disagree with Otzma Yehudit’s approach,” said Rabbi Meidan, “but I could agree to a joint run with them assuming we’re talking about a technical bloc out of necessity to pass the electoral threshold – but only if they agree to one condition which I will not compromise one.”

“In Itamar Ben-Gvir’s house, there is a picture of Dr. Baruch Goldstein, who shot and killed 29 Arabs in the Tomb of the Patriarchs, with the verse ‘Because he was jealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel,’ . That is something that no young people should see, and we must not agree to let any young people come to the conclusion that this path is legitimate.”

Rabbi Meidan added that he would prefer to see the Jewish Home fail to enter the 21st Knesset than run with Otzma Yehudit, should his demands not be met.

“I’d rather have us fail to reach the electoral threshold and not get in, rather than to get in with Otzma Yehudit if Itamar Ben-Gvir refuses to take down the picture and vow not to put it up again.”

“If they’re willing to take on our approach even a little bit, then we can talk, but if they are want to influence the youth with their erring ways, I’d rather we don’t get in – we owe it to our young people.”