Latest update: November 18th, 2012
The National Union will choose its list for the fifth time. I’ve been around for all five cycles and unity in our nationalist camp is more important now than ever.
I have been doing my best over the past couple of months to use my “neutral” position as the Manager of the National Union Knesset Faction, as well as the position of the next MK in line on the National Union list, to unify the ideological, nationalist parties for a joint run in the 2013 general elections.
Years ago, in 1999, I had the privilege of standing alongside Rechavam Ze’evy, Rav Chanan Porat and Benny Begin when they joined together to form the original National Union (HaIchud HaLeumi). Subsequently, as the Chair of the Moledet Party’s Executive Board, I constantly fought for running for Knesset on united lists, against those who, in each election cycle anew, demanded that we break away and run on our own as a soloist party, even at the expense of my own seat. As such, I feel that it is of the utmost importance that we all work together to make sure that the National Union, in its entirety, runs together with the Bayit Yehudi-Mafdal HaChadasha in the upcoming elections.
In 2006, I supported the joint list with the National Religious Party even though that meant my slot as 3rd in Moledet meant 16 on the joint list. I supported running with them in 2009 and I support running with them now in 2013. Once again, I have turned down opportunities to run on a breakaway list because I believe it is crucial to maintain unity in the national and national-religious camp, this time it was the option of running with MK’s Eldad and Ben-Ari. I remind our friends in the nationalist camp that it was these very political splits that enabled the advancement of the Oslo Accords.
Today, the Tekuma party will choose the National Union’s list for the 2013 election. I have decided to run because I feel that I bring three things to the table that no other candidate does – Unity, Experience and Anglos.
With Eldad and Ben Ari choosing to run on their own, it is of the utmost importance that Moledet, the only other constant in the National Union, choose the side of unity versus divisiveness. Only political alliances and running on joint lists will give us the power we need to have a real influence on the decision making process in Israel. This is the very clear lessons of the 1992 and 2009 elections. Together, we are strong. Divided, totally impotent.
I am among a handful of veteran political Knesset parliamentary experts. I started working in the Knesset in 1996 and have held just about every appointed job in Knesset or government, including top level parliamentary and senior ministry positions. There are few people like myself who can step into the position of Knesset member without the need for any on-the-job training or grace period.
I have been the National Union’s official English-speaking candidate for the last three general election campaigns. I was number 10 in the Liberman led list of 2003, number 16 in 2006 and number 5 during this term, in which the National Union won 4 seats. I have been one of the most recognized English-speaking candidates for over a decade.
My friend and neighbor, Jeremy Gimpel, dedicated his high-profile Bayit Yehudi campaign towards connecting with the large voting block of English-speakers in this country. Gimpel’s attempt at bringing accountability to the Knesset echoes my same attempts of the past and is not lost. Although he did not win a realistic slot in Habayit Hayehudi, I hope the National Union chooses me in a high spot to be the strong Anglo candidate that the nationalistic camp knows and deserves. There is no doubt that an Anglo at a high spot will translate into more votes for the party.
If I am selected to a high enough spot in the joint National Union-Bayit Yehudi list, I will be in a position to continue to work towards unifying the joint list with MK’s Eldad and Ben Ari. I will also work towards being your “Congressman” in the Knesset, with the level of connection and accountability that Anglos are accustomed to. Who knows? Maybe some of that will finally even rub off on my Israeli colleagues…
About the Author: Uri Bank is Manager of the National Union Knesset Faction.
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