Can Likud voters possibly be kvelling at the Likud’s agressive attacks on Habayit Hayehudi party and rising star Naftali Bennett as part of their campaign? The “new” National Religious Party is against further territorial compromise, against the creation of a Palestinian state, and for the strengthening of the state and religious education system – all seemingly Likud values.
Having served as National President of the Betar movement of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, it’s interesting that a picture of Jabotinsky (the forefather of Revisionist Zionism) hangs in Likud headquarters today. True Betar ideologues – Israeli conservatives – shudder at the political expediency of past Israeli leaders like Ehud Olmert who forego their ideology for political popularity.
Is Netanyahu’s attacks on Bennett a further sign that Netanyahu is moving away from the traditional values of Jabotinsky’s Revisionist Zionism? Perhaps that is a reason Bennett is a threat to the Likud, and one of the reasons the ideologically pure man is doing so well in polls. Bennett is a a clear symbol of the new Israeli “Start-Up Nation”, and appealing to the religious and secular, and therefore a politically expedient manner Likud is attacking him and twisting his words.
A simple review of the controversial interview shows he never called to refuse orders as they claim and as he has clarified: “I have been serving in the IDF for 22 years as a fighter and a commander, and I never called to refuse orders – every intelligent [television] viewer understood that.”
Bennett’s statement this weekend symbolizes the Jabotinsky-esq important value of Hadar: “I did a lot of thought over the weekend, and by the way it was Shabbat so I didn’t know Netanyahu and the Likud had opened the gates of hell on me over Shabbat.” Attacking a Jew on Shabbat who loves Eretz Israel is not the way of Jabotinsky. It’s bad public relations and a bad political move.
The Habayit Hayehudi party of Naftali Bennett is a natural partner for the Likud. Attacking him is a moral – and political – mistake which won’t help the Likud come elections.