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‘Religious Zionism agrees with us on most issues’ – Arutz Sheva

| January 16, 2020

: " ' " MK Yoaz Hendel of the Blue and White party spoke to Arutz Sheva on Wednesday about the values that are shared by both his party and the national religious public which, he claims, make the Blue and White party a home for this public. I think that Blue and White represents a perception of the people of Israel and the land of Israel. We agree on most things and I suggest to my friends from religious Zionism that they look at who truly represents them on issues of religion and state, who represents them on economic issues and on other issues, and I think theyll find a true home here, said Hendel.

New Right, Bayit Yehudi and National Union unite, leaving Otzma out – The Jerusalem Post

| January 16, 2020

On a day of high political drama, the three parties of the right-wing, religious-Zionist sector New Right, Bayit Yehudi and National Union finally came together in a last-minute deal Wednesday night, despite deep personal and ideological differences between them.The far-right, Kahanist party Otzma Yehudit was left out in the end, after New Right leader Naftali Bennett refused to accept the extremist party into his political union despite massive pressure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do so.Netanyahu, the heads of the right-wing religious-Zionist parties except Otzma, and senior religious-Zionist leader Rabbi Haim Druckman were locked in discussions right up to the deadline for filing electoral lists to the Central Elections Committee on Wednesday night.The day saw high political drama among all the right-wing religious parties, as New Right leader Naftali Bennett categorically refused to accept Netanyahus demand to include far-right Otzma Yehudit in his emerging right-wing, religious political union.Over the last few days, Netanyahu brought huge pressure on Bennett to allow Otzma to join, to avoid right-wing votes being wasted on a party, or two parties, that will not pass the electoral threshold.Earlier on Wednesday evening, however, Bennett strongly rejected the possibility of allowing the extremist Otzma to join the right-wing union he was forming, and strongly criticized Netanyahu for pressuring him to take the Kahanist group on board.I will not include someone on my electoral list who has a picture in his living room of a person who murdered 29 innocent people, said Bennett in a statement on Facebook Wednesday afternoon.He was referring to Otzma leader Itamar Ben-Gvir, who infamously has a picture of Baruch Goldstein, who carried out the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in 1994, on his living room wall.This should be so self-evident that I am shocked that I need to explain it, continued Bennett.Imagine a US congressman who had a picture of someone on his wall who killed 29 Jews in a synagogue. Does this sound logical?I dont care how much I am pressured; its not even an option; it wont happen. This is my final decision.Netanyahu has strongly pressured Bennett to accept Otzma, similar to the events of the April and September elections, when the prime minister also exerted heavy pressure on the right-wing parties to accept the extremist Kahanist party in its joint list.Bennett tweeted later Wednesday evening that if Netanyahu was so anxious to have Ben-Gvir in the Knesset, he should offer him a reserved seat on the Likud list and cease his pressure on New Right.The religious-Zionist political parties have been riven by internal fighting and factionalism in recent months.New Right, led by Bennett, initially refused to unite with any of the other religious right-wing parties, but on Tuesday acquiesced to Netanyahus demands to run together with the National Union Party.This decision was taken due to internal Likud polling showing that Bayit Yehudi, National Union and Otzma would not pass the electoral threshold together, leading Netanyahu to panic and insist that Bennett bring in the rest of the religious-Zionist parties.National Union then split from its longtime, natural partner, Bayit Yehudi, to join New Right, because of a fight over the leadership of a joint Bayit Yehudi-National Union list, and joined New Right.Peretz had united Bayit Yehudi with Otzma in December to outflank Smotrich and reassert his position as head of the traditional religious-Zionist parties, but was forced to back down since a Bayit Yehudi-Otzma list would be hard pressed to pass the electoral threshold.Despite his pledge to Otzma, Peretz was forced to abandon his far-right ally in order to save his political career and the political life of Bayit Yehudi.Blue and White MK Yair Lapid responded to the announcement, saying: "I address the religious Zionism, the true religious Zionism

This Student is Taking on Columbia in First Test of Trump’s Title VI Order – Atlanta Jewish Times

| January 16, 2020

In the charged campus debate on Israel, many activists see a reed-thin line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. For Columbia University student Jonathan Karten, that line was erased altogether in November when he read about a speech by Professor Joseph Massad, who has written extensively on Arab nationalism

New Right, National Union Agree to Joint Run in Elections – Algemeiner

| January 16, 2020

Yemina political alliance members Ayelet Shaked, Rafi Peretz, Naftali Bennett and Betzalel Smotrich seen during the launch of a housing project in Elkana, Israel, on Aug. 21, 2019.

Podcast: Neil Rogachevsky on the Roots of Israel’s Political Crisis and How to Fix It – Mosaic

| January 16, 2020

This Weeks Guest: Neil Rogachevsky Israels electoral politics are a mess. One election last April failed to produce a governing coalition; so did a second one in the fall. Now Israelis are scheduled to head back to the polls in March for the third time in a single year

On bad Jews – The Boston Globe

| January 16, 2020

Arguably the most brazen example came last month, when Giuliani told New York Magazine that he, a Catholic, is more of a Jew than George Soros, a Holocaust survivor, because Soros doesnt go to church, he doesnt go to religion synagogue and is an enemy of Israel. I heard a similar defense of anti-Semitic critiques of Soros while reporting for my forthcoming book on him; the idea was that calling Soros a puppet master or dabbling in anti-Semitic tropes couldnt possibly have anything to do with the Hungarian-born billionaires Jewish identity, because he isnt religious. The undercurrent to all of this is that there is a right way and a wrong way to talk about Israel, a right and wrong way to observe or not observe your religion, a right or wrong way to try to hold your own community accountable that, in short, there is a right and a wrong way to be Jewish

Religious-Zionist politics in turmoil as parties turn on each other – The Jerusalem Post

| January 15, 2020

Defections, betrayals, secret deals, the admission of the far Right, and prime ministerial interference are just some of the events that have characterized the chaos of religious-Zionist politics over the last 12 months.As of this writing, the supposedly liberal right-wing outfit of Naftali Bennetts New Right has united with the decidedly illiberal National Union; Bayit Yehudi is stuck with the extremist Kahanists of Otzma Yehudit; and Bayit Yehudi leader Rabbi Rafi Peretz has become an electoral liability and deeply unpopular within his own party.What has happened?For several months now, substantial parts of the Bayit Yehudi membership and central committee have become increasingly angry with Peretz for refusing to allow primary elections for leadership of the party and its electoral list.Peretz has proved to be an electoral liability, a religious hard-liner, and a generally charisma-less leader of Bayit Yehudi compared to the dynamism and electoral attraction of Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, all of which has seen the partys polling numbers plummet.Because of all this, when negotiations began to reunite Bayit Yehudi with its longtime political partner, National Union, it looked increasingly likely that National Union leader Bezalel Smotrich would wrest the leadership of the joint list away from Peretz.In a Machiavellian move, Peretz then did an end run around Smotrich to unite with the far-right Otzma Yehudit Party to outflank his National Union rival.This move heaped pressure on Smotrich because he essentially had no place to go. Bennett was insisting that New Right was running independently as a liberal, right-wing party, and National Union had no hope of passing the electoral threshold by itself.Enter Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Sometime earlier this week, Netanyahu got hold of internal party polling demonstrating that a joint list of Bayit Yehudi, National Union and Otzma would struggle to pass the 3.5% electoral threshold.Panicking that the center-left bloc would almost certainly gain a majority and evict Netanyahu from Balfour Street if close to 140,000 right-wing votes got thrown in the dustbin, the prime minister pressured Bennett to bring in Smotrich, and then Bayit Yehudi and even Otzma.While this was going on, Peretz and Smotrich were still in negotiations to form a united list, but Peretz seemingly reneged on a promise to allow internal primaries after a full party merger, which blew a hole in the proposed agreement.Smotrich was now only too willing to accept Netanyahus proposed unity deal with New Right, since it would rescue him from political oblivion and turn the tables on Peretz.Bennett subsequently folded in the face of Netanyahus pressure, which included threats to fire him from his long-coveted role as defense minister, and Peretz found himself out in the cold with the extremists of Otzma in a joint list, which will be extremely hard pressed to pass the electoral threshold.Netanyahu then weighed in again Wednesday night with the preposterous idea that senior religious-Zionist authority Rabbi Haim Druckman, 87 years old and in poor health, should temporarily take over the leadership of Bayit Yehudi, so as to bring unity to the religious-Zionist political scene and save the prime minister from appearing in the Jerusalem District Court to face his corruption charges.As it stands now, Bennett is resisting the demands to bring in Otzma to his joint electoral list and has invited only Bayit Yehudi, while Peretz is insisting that he will not abandon his radical partners and will join a united list only if the Kahanists can come, too.Whatever happens by the deadline for submitting electoral lists to the Central Elections Committee Wednesday at midnight, the wounds of this latest election campaign will be deep and painful, and will not quickly be healed.

Diaspora Jews Have Their Say: World Zionist Congress 2020 – Jewish Exponent

| January 15, 2020

The First Zionist Congress took place Aug. 29-31, 1897. Courtesy of National Photo Collection of Israel, via Wikimedia Commons The World Zionist Congress, in a sentence: Nobody knows what it is, laughed Mort Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America and a WZC delegate-candidate.

UK Labour Party on its hands and knees before Israel’s Zionist terror networks – Redress Information & Analysis

| January 15, 2020

Gilad Atzmonwrites: Historically, a popular coup against an opposition party is rare. In the last General Election Jeremy Corbyns Labour Party provided us with just such an exceptional spectacle

Rabbi Rafi Peretz: Our list will save the entire camp, I apologize to Ben Gvir – Arutz Sheva

| January 15, 2020

There are moments in a person's life in which he must make a decision against all odds. With a heavy heart, I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life, based on one and only one reason - religious Zionism, Jewish identity and the Land of Israel were the only things that stood before me. I decided to run on one joint list that would save the entire State of Israel from a left-wing government that would destroy any trait of the Jewish identity of Israel and negotiate with terrorist supporters.


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