Moti Yogev, former Knesset member and head of the Jewish Home party, spoke this week with Arutz Sheva’s Uzi Baruch.
Moti, currently an emissary for the Jewish Agency, is involved with Aliyah (immigration to Israel) and Absorption from different countries alongside his work with the Jewish National Fund (JNF). During the interview, Yogev spoke about the Religious Zionist politics in the upcoming elections, in light of two parties, the Religious Zionist party led by MK Bezalel Smotrich, and the Yamina party led by MK Naftali Bennett.
“My whole political life I worked for the unification of the Religious Zionist camp and today it is still part of my heart and soul. It is he who decided to secede two and a half years ago bringing about the separation and the division,” said Yogev referencing Naftali Bennet’s move to separate from the Jewish Home to start the New Right party.
As far as Moti Yogev is concerned, the Religious Zionist ideals are what need to guide the People and Nation of Israel. “For more than 150 years, Religious Zionism has led a path of Torah through derech eretz (decency and respect - ed.), which is the essential connection between a great nation to its land through Torah that encompasses all facets of life. I think that this is what the Religious Zionist party represents in Israel’s Knesset.”
In his remarks, he stated that there are Religious Zionist Knesset members in many different parties, from Labor and Yesh Atid to Likud, Yamina, and New Hope, but the entity of the values and needs of the Religious Zionist sector have fallen to the bottom of the proverbial totem pole, and have almost entirely disappeared. Yogev stated that at this point, and with the emergence of the country from the coronavirus, the flags of Religious Zionism need to be waved at the top of the flagpole.
As one who nominated Chagit Moshe for head of the Jewish Home, he was asked what led him to now to support Betzalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionist party. Yogev remarked that he himself was part of the efforts for the placing of Moshe at the helm of the Jewish Home, but with that would not get into the differences between the present-day Jewish Home party and the Religious Zionist party.
On the decision to support Smotrich, he stated that his former party chose a path that disregarded its prior values: “When Chagit Moshe decided to so what she did, based on her own discretion without approval from the party, my loyalties remained true to the core values of the Jewish People and Religious Zionism. I came to the realization that the Religious Zionist party is committed to the values of Religious Zionism and will make them a reality. Smotrich, who leads the party, is fully devoted to Religious Zionist values, values of the Jewish People, its land, and Torah, and constantly strives to implement them. Therefore I have decided in the upcoming elections to vote for the letter 'tet' for Religious Zionism and for The Jewish People.”
Yogev said that he is a loyal member of the Jewish Home and that he still thinks that the two parties need to unite. He continues his efforts with Zevulun Orlev to bring forth an equal compromise between the two parties, but “to our disappointment Orlev, who wanted to stand at the head of the unification, rejected the option and preferred other counterparts, and here we are today. As one who is loyal to the Jewish Home and to its Religious Zionist mission I will support the Religious Zionist party in this election.”
Regarding attorney. Itamar Ben Gvir, who heads the Otzma Yehudit party, Yogev stated that although in the past he was disturbed by his different viewpoints, the connection with Otzma Yehudit is a technical bloc with the intention of not losing any right wing votes, and in addition to that “Itamar Ben Gvir is part of the People of Israel and he deserves the right to be represented in the Knesset just like all of the Jewish People. Additionally, he has toned down some of viewpoints and they are more patriotic.”
With regards to Yogev’s chance of returning to the Knesset, he said that he is happy in his current position dealing with the Aliyah and Absorption of immigrants of all ages from all over the world. With that, as a lot of his work is in conjunction with different government offices, he understands the power of the government to move different developments forward, and therefore does not discount a possible return to politics in the future.