In a shocking move on Saturday night, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked announced that they will be bolting the Jewish Home party to form a new party to be called ‘HaYemin Hachadash’. or the ‘New Right.’
For the past five years Bennett was at the helm of the Jewish Home or Bayit HaYehudi party which he began when he defeated incumbent MK Zevulun Orlev for the post of party head, according to an INN report.
The announcement came amid internal feuding in the party, reportedly between Bennett and members of the Tekuma branch of the Jewish Home – Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and MK Betzalel Smotrich.
Jewish Home Member of Knesset Shuli Moalem-Refaeli reportedly will join Shaked and Bennett.
Addressing a press conference at Beit Sokolov in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, they stressed that over the past six years, the Jewish Home became an “influential party,” enumerating successes such as new legislation preventing the release of terrorists imprisoned in Israeli jails, according to a WIN report.
The two MK’s harshly attacked the Likud as was reported by INN, and said that the “New Right” will be “a true partnership between religious and secular Israelis.”
Bennett criticized the Netanyahu government for reneging on its promise to destroy the illegal Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar as well as for enabling the transfer of $15 million to the Hamas terror group while it was firing rockets at Israel, according to the WIN report.
Both Bennett and Shaked stressed that the new party would stand against the creation of a Palestinian state and respect Jewish tradition while uniting right-wing religious and secular.
If such a party had been formed 25-30 years ago, the destruction of Jewish communities of Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip in 2005 along with the evacuation of thousands of Jewish families would not have happened, Bennett charged.
WIN reported that last month, after former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s resignation and before the Knesset decided to hold elections this spring, Bennett demanded the defense ministry and threatened to otherwise leave the coalition and bring down the government. At a news conference that followed, he and Shaked backed down after Netanyahu’s address to the nation the previous evening, urging the coalition leaders to “show responsibility” and not necessitate new elections during a military campaign, referring to the conflict with Hamas in Gaza.
“The Jewish Home has become a very influential force in the State of Israel, but in the last year and even more so in recent months, this era of our great influence has ended,” said Bennett. “Prime Minister Netanyahu understood that the wonderful Religious Zionism sits in his pocket, that no matter how often and how much he betrays them, they will stay with him.”
In recent days, Bennett has met with top Religious Zionist leaders, including Rabbis Zalman Melamed and Haim Druckman, in order to recruit support for the dramatic move, according to the INN report. The Jewish Home thanked Bennett and Shaked “for 5 years of great work on behalf of the Jewish people, adding that “we believe that success awaits them in the right-wing camp,” but told Religious Zionists to vote for the Jewish Home Party.
Jewish Home lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich hinted that he would contend for the Jewish Home’s leadership following Bennett and Shaked’s departure, according to the INN report.
“On the one hand, it was a logical move that Bennett and Shaked left,” said Smotrich. “From the moment they entered politics they did not come to lead Religious Zionism. They set a much higher goal for themselves, and it took them time to understand that this would not happen from within this platform.”
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