Habayit Hayehudi MK Moti Yogev (62), who on Monday won the second spot on Habayit Hayehudi Knesset slate (the first spot was reserved for the chairman, Rabbi Rafi Peretz), served as a colonel in the IDF, was the Secretary General of Bnei Akiva, Chairman of the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, and Deputy and Acting Head of the Matte Binyamin Regional Council. But to Israelis, in and out of the media, at this point, he is known by one statement he made back in July of 2015, his D-9 statement.
Following a High Court of Justice ruling that 24 housing units (the Drainhof homes) which had been built in Beit El on land allegedly owned by Arabs, MK Yogev said: “If it’s true, as I heard it now, that the ruling the High Court of Justice has reached is to demolish the Drainhof homes, despite the fact that there was a valid construction plan and a building permit, then it’s charlatanism on the part of the High Court of Justice, it’s an injustice, and someone should raise the palm of a D-9 bulldozer on the High Court of Justice.”
The Caterpillar D9 is a large track-type tractor designed and manufactured by Caterpillar Inc. It is usually sold as a bulldozer equipped with a detachable large blade and a rear ripper attachment, perfect for lifting and shaking supreme courts.
Clearly, Yogev, who is likely to get a ministerial portfolio in Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government, is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve and follows his principles even when those are costly. Also in 2015, Yogev voted against the coalition on a bill arranging custody issues between divorcing parents – and was suspended from the Knesset foreign and security committee, and banned from submitting his own bills to the ministerial legislation committee.
Clearly, Habayit Hayehudi members who did not tag along with Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked are more hard-right and Orthodox-identified, and as such they want Yogev to speak up for them. His reputation as a principled and occasionally biting politician did not hurt his position in the religious-Zionist camp, it bolstered it. Together with his party’s unabashed partner in the National Union, Bezalel Smotrich, their faction will offer an unambiguous position on security issues, and, possibly, on state and religion issues as well.
Seeing as currently the Habayit Hayehudi faction has risen from 4 to 6 seats in the polls, it appears many Israelis like their politicians blunt and honest, with a touch of feisty.