Bennett and company, an inconvenient truth

The meteoric rise of the “Habeit Hayehudi” party in the polls has filled the hearts of quite a few people with hope that we are somehow witnessing a rebirth of the National Religious Party, a moderate religious party that participated in many of Israel’s governments including those formed by the Labor party in its heydays (and bears partial responsibility for Israel’s settlement enterprise in the territories). Naftali Bennett, its likable leader has projected an image of intelligence and understanding, care and pleasantness, the nice Israeli who is even supportive of those who refuse to follow clearly legal army commands to remove illegal settlers from occupied territories. Were he not a self-made man with  considerable economic accomplishments and an exemplary army record, I would even consider buying into his apparently innocent image.

It is however becoming clearer every day that nothing could be further from the truth and we are witnessing a radical right-wing start-up in semi disguise, run by a likable fellow who is good at blurring his message to make sure to catch as many unwitting voters as possible. Many of them sympathize with his patriotic shtick and are are attracted to his wildly populist and completely untenable plans for an annexation of large sections of the territories. These plans, not surprisingly, obviate the need for a messy and highly unpopular withdrawal of settlers leaving us only to deal with about 2 million Palestinians who really, but really would not care to live under what is euphemistically called “autonomy”. But who is asking them? Definitely not Bennett or his party.

Bennett glibly notes that the fact that the whole world is against us is really of no consequence and we just have to go ahead annexing what is ours anyway. After all, the man on the street in Kansas (or France I presume) doesn’t really know what’s going on anyway and will appreciate a forceful single minded Israeli government that knows what it wants, not a wishy-washy peacemongering and dithering pink excuse for a true Jewish administration.

But what completely gives this charade away, is the Knesset list that Bennett is almost totally hiding behind his smiling face, a list of extremists and misogynists that includes individuals that would not likely find a place on any list of candidates in any other democracy that is a member of the OECD.

Number 4 on the list, Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan is an outspoken opponent of equal rights for the LGBT community and has serious issues with the ongoing empowerment of women. These have lead him to consider the abolition of Knesset committees for the status of women and the rights of children in favor of a more agreeable “committee on family issues”.

Motti Yogev, number 9 on the list viewed the 2nd Lebanon war as G-d sent “Zdaka” to shake up Israeli society and government, is in favor of Hizbollah, an organization which “wakes up the people of Israel” and justifies some of Rabbi Kahane’s teachings. In his words, the third temple will be built in our days on the temple mount.

Number 10 is Orit Struck, who lives in the Jewish enclave in Hebron and makes Palestinian’s lives miserable there. She has developed human  rights into a tool to protect the settlers by launching numerous complaints against the police, the government and the courts for “antisemitic actions” against the settlers. Her son incidentally, having been the beneficiary of her enlightened education was sent to jail for a year and a half for seriously harming a Palestinian.

Yony Shetbon, number 11 on the list, founded the “Raananim” Youth Movement which took a strong line against more moderate religious youth movements. Shetbon conditioned Raananim taking a stand against the “Price Tag” activities of the settlers upon another religious youth movement refusing current and future donations from the New Israel Fund. He views national service for Arabs as a mistake and a dangerous proposal since ” Israeli Arabs act as a fifth column within Israel, they oppose the Jewish people and their’s is the narrative of the Nakba. ” In his words, the joint service with Arabs is a demographic danger: “If they serve with Jewish boys and girls in many areas, medicine, kindergartens and educational institutions it will be worse than the threat posed by the Sudanese (illegal immigrants E.S.). We would actually give them a ticket to enter via the main entrance.” Regarding Zionism, Mr. Shetbon claims that “Habeit Hayehudi” is not committed to either Jabotinsky’s interpretation, nor to that of David Ben Gurion.” Shetbon tops it all by declaring that “the obsessive concern for democracy destroys Zionism – democracy is a tool, not a value.”

Number 13 on the list is Hillel Horovitz who views with favor the expulsion of Palestinians from areas surrounding the Jewish neighborhood in Hebron, thinks that the Arab minority should be dealt with like “guests in our country” and proposes that the government adopts the Jewish calendar as a working tool.

Last not least on Habeit Hayehudi’s list of luminaries is Jeremy Gimpel, number 14, whose chumminess with US evangelists has served him well financially. He opines that “not to build the third temple on the temple mount is like building a Jewish state in Uganda.The building of the temple will be a sign that the Jewish religion will rule the world again, a world that will understand that there is only one G-d and the temple will be the holiest site on earth”. Gimpel is very supportive of an Israeli attack on Iran to which he has referred to as follows: “It’s like going to the dentist and who wants to go to the dentist ?  Israel will do what it has to do and if that means attacking every 5 years, that’s what will be”.

Anybody considering to vote for this list, please take note.

Credit for detail to the Molad Center and Project




About the Author
The author served in the Prime Minister’s Office as a member of the intelligence community, is a member of the Council for Peace and Security and was a candidate in Labor’s 2012 primary election for the Knesset list