Rabbi Rafi Peretz
Rabbi Rafi Peretz Hezki Baruch

New Knesset members on Monday arrived at the Knesset in order to learn about the parliamentary work expected of them in the 21st Knesset.

Rabbi Rafi Peretz, who heads the United Right list, told Arutz Sheva: "This is a meaningful day. We're very happy, it's a great honor, to join Israel's Knesset as a member. We're learning a bit what the Knesset is, about the unique things there are here. I think people in the Knesset have a huge influence on what happens in the State of Israel."

"As Religious Zionists, we intend to work, to talk about it, and to influence the social agenda, Zionism, our sovereignty over this land, the connection between religion and state. In all of these issues we definitely intend to present the great vision we believe in, out of enormous love and appreciation for the nation."

Rabbi Peretz also emphasized that his party would not compromise on its demands to receive both the education and justice portfolios.

"We will fight for these portfolios," he said. "I think we deserve them, we're not asking for a favor. It is unthinkable that everyone will continue to receive what they had previously, and only we, who traditionally receive the education portfolio and who had the justice portfolio in the last Knesset [won't receive it]. It's unthinkable that these portfolios will be taken [away from us]. We have six Knesset members. I, G-d willing, will be Education Minister, and my good friend Bezalel [Smotrich] will be Justice Minister."

Rabbi Peretz also rejected reports that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not intend to appoint Smotrich as Justice Minister.

"I see it as a spin," he said. "I don't know where it came from but that spin is inappropriate considering we haven't started negotiations. Nothing has been decided for anyone, including us. First of all they have to listen to our demands, we can talk, it's negotiations, we think about things, but our stance is very clear and it's not up for debate: We came to change things in the State of Israel. Both regarding education and regarding justice. We have what to say and I think it'll be a huge blessing for the State of Israel."

"In education, we will deepen the Israeli and Jewish identities in every one of Israel's precious children, and in the Justice Ministry, we will set clear boundaries for the Supreme Court, for where justice is given, and for the Legislative Authority."