Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi faced new charges of extremism Sunday after a
religious Zionist website revealed that one of the party’s candidates called for
returning Gush Katif evacuees to the Gaza Strip and rebuilding dismantled West
The website, Kipa, reported that in a parlor meeting
last week, Hebron rabbi Hillel Horowitz, who is 13th on the Bayit Yehudi list,
said his party would do the maximum possible to return Israel to a full presence
in the communities it evacuated in 2005.
“We will do everything we can to
work to return the people of Israel to Homesh in northern Samaria and to Gush
Katif,” Horowitz said.
“We will take action to bring about Israel’s
annexation of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. It is simple: We will
act with all our strength on behalf of the land of Israel, the Torah of Israel,
and the people of Israel.”
Parties on the Center-Left attacked Horowitz and warned voters who were planning on voting for Bayit Yehudi to support Bennett
“There are not 15 Bennetts,” said MK Yoel Hasson (The Tzipi Livni
“Behind Bennett’s charismatic smile, there is an extremist,
delusional gang who will bring about their share of extremist acts that will
harm our democracy.
Anyone who votes Bennett who is not a right-wing
extremist should know who they are voting for.”
foreign minister Tzipi Livni told supporters in Sderot Sunday night that she was
glad Horowitz’s statements were revealed before the election and not
Labor MK Eitan Cabel, who
heads the party’s response team, responded to Horowitz by saying “Insanity has
The attacks on Horowitz came the same day that Jeremy Gimpel,
who follows Horowitz on the Bayit Yehudi list, clarified what he told Christian
Zionists in Florida in 2011 about blowing up Jerusalem’s Temple Mount mosques.
He said that in the speech he was mocking those who called for such a thing.
“I gave a Bible lesson,” Gimpel said.
“I wasn’t a politician then, I wasn’t running for anything. It was a parody on
the fanatics who want to blow up the Temple Mount. Of course I oppose
No one in Bayit Yehudi supports violence on the Temple Mount or calls
for blowing up anything. The Holy Temple was destroyed because of baseless
hatred and will be built on love.”
Gimpel scoffed at Hasson for filing a
motion to disqualify him from Bayit Yehudi’s list of Knesset
He said it would be funny if Balad MK Haneen Zoabi were
allowed to run and he were not.
In a press release in English, Gimpel
said: “I unequivocally oppose any violence at any holy site, whether it be the
Kotel Plaza, the Temple Mount, or sites sacred to any other
Gimpel said splinter parties on the left were desperately seeking
to make headlines by twisting the truth and taking remarks out of
“The voters will see through it,” he said. “There are serious
issues at stake in these elections: Israel’s security, Jewish identity, housing
prices, cost of living, and more. I am calling on the public to see past the
sensationalism and cheap shots and seriously consider which party represents
their values, views, and hopes for Israel.”
Gimpel said he was
particularly upset that the report that maligned him was broadcast on Friday
night when he could not immediately react due to Shabbat.
There were also
Shabbat attacks on Bennett. He said that every Friday night during this election
season different parties have taken shots at Bayit Yehudi, leaving them
defenseless for 24 hours, not being able to respond until Saturday night as the
party refrains from any media interviews during Shabbat.
politics and people are sick and tired of it,” Gimpel said.
offering an alternative. As many parties have attacked us to compensate
for their lack of new and innovative ideas, we have run a positive campaign
aimed at uniting all sectors in Israel.”
Bayit Yehudi’s spokeswoman did
not respond to a request for comment.