Photo Credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90
MK Michael Ben-Ari with his parliamentary aide Baruch Marzel.
MK Michael Ben-Ari with his parliamentary aide Baruch Marzel.

Two out of the four MKs of the right-wing, pro-settlement National Union, Michael Ben Ari and Aryeh Eldad may resign from their lame-duck seats and run on an independent list which would constitute the most right-wing party in the Knesset.

In an interview on Radio Kol Chai, MK Ben Ari explained: “I do not see myself as belonging to the National Religious bloc. I am National Religious, but I think the time has passed for Religious Zionism as a political sector.”

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Ben Ari says he is “in full coordination with MK Aryeh Eldad. There is a plan to run together and unite with those who aligns with the ideological line” of maintaining Jewish ownership of the entire Land of Israel (Shleimut ha’aretz).

Ben Ari attacked his own current party and noted that in today’s reality “they know that the brand ‘Ben Ari’ is worth more than the two or three votes that each one of them would bring. Wherever I go, I take with me my 40-50 thousand votes. This is why they have to have me inside, but they want me at the tail end, so they throw me down to the 8th ot 9th spot? Why, am I their tail to wag with? My ideology is not good enough to be uttered on the leadership level of such a united list? Then my answer is an unequivocal no.”

“We will announce our independent run, and will provide the public with the details,” MK Ben Ari proclaimed, adding: “It Should be noted that my running separately will add to our power among audiences they have never reached.”

Ben Ari and right-wing activist Baruch Marzel are hoping to attract MK Aryeh Eldad to join them in their new, independent party. The National Union, with 4 MKs, is comprised of three separate parties, one of which does not have an MK.

Meanwhile, National Union chairman Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz has been trying to persuade—by some accounts, or strong arm—by others, his potential partners and their voters at the Jewish Home party, heir of the historic National Religious Party (NRP), to stay away in their primary vote from one of the candidates for party chairman, MK Zevulun Orlev.

In an interview Ketzale gave the magazine BeSheva (which is owned by his political base in the town of Beit El), the National Union chair said “Zevulun Orlev did not allow the uniting of our two parties for three years now, despite dozens of conversations we conducted with him. He prevented the move, and even when MK Orbach (current chair of Jewish Home) signed a partnership with us, he did so over Orlev’s objection. Science Minister Daniel Hershkowitz was ready for signing, as was Naftali Bennett, who has actually signed a joint document.”

MK Katz pointed out that virtually every National Religious voter favors a united list for the coming elections, but because of MK Orlev their wishes have been quashed.

“If we had been united since three years ago, today we could have been in the midst of a great movement forward, which would have been joined by a large group of voters.”

MK Orlev’s circle accused Katz of trying to influence the democratic process in Jewish Home, which is holding its primaries in November. Chairman of the census committee of Religious Zionist voters, Rabbi Danny Trooper, was also critical of MK Katz.

Rabbi Tropper told the website Srugim that “Ketzale is committing gross and improper interference in the affairs of another party, which is conducting a democratic process” that is already showing results in a bump to 5 projected seats in the polls published today and yesterday, “while the National Union, which refused to participate in the primaries for the leadership of Religious Zionism, has been weakened to the brink of barely getting past the two-seat threshold.”

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25 COMMENTS

  1. If he carries through on his plans to make massive cuts to the non-defense federal budget, it will destroy scientific research in the US and a huge fraction of American scientists will be needing to find other countries in which to work. But I'm not one of the crazies who says, "If Mitt wins, I'm leaving" (or, "If Barack wins, I'm leaving").

  2. I would not mind living in Israel, but….

    My wife would make in Israel about 1/3 what she makes in the US and still has significant medical school loans to finish paying off. And my spoken Hebrew isn't good enough for me to get an academic job there.

  3. Likud's economic and social policies are to the left of the Democratic Party in the US. I've known other American Democrats who ended up voting Likud when they made aliyah. And while I think the excessive entanglement of religion and state in Israel has hurt both religion and state, I'm not a fan of some of the anti-religious sentiment that some in Kadima and Labor (and in particular Ehud Barak) have expressed at times. (But didn't Barak leave Labor? I can't keep up with all this!)

    I certainly don't have a problem with Jabotinsky's five mem's:

    http://www.betar.org.il/en/content/view/6/6/

  4. I vote Likud for two reasons. One is that Bibi is one of very few people in the world who "gets" the threat of radical Islam. And two is because I can't stand the small parties and how selfish they are. However, I really do like Yair Lapid and will be watching how he's polling.

  5. Don't fund them! That just encourages them. While there are literally dozens who run, only twelve made it over the electoral threshold. I have yet to waste a vote in an Israeli election, but the parties I vote for tend to implode by the next cycle.

  6. And to think that Naftali Bennet commited to giving Katzele 50% of the seats on the Bayit Yehudi list. If you plan to vote for the BY write Bennet and tell him that he can not go ahead with that agreement since the NH no longer exists! Bennet told me a few days ago he is still committed to the agreement…

  7. Why not ? Ben Ari has a lot of selling power, he appeals to the masses rather than many of the Israeli nobody's that run on party platforms… Ben ari and eldad can get 60k votes no prob

  8. I assume you meant 6 MKs, and not 60. And I beg to differ. Many of the folks who believe precisely in Ben-Ari's views on the settlements will still not vote for him because he is kind of one-dimensional. They would rather vote for Likud, hopefully with a realistic representation for Feiglin.

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