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 Bank settlements.

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 Party).

“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.”

Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni told supporters in Sderot Sunday night that she was glad Horowitz’s statements were revealed before the election and not after.

Labor MK Eitan Cabel, who heads the party’s response team, responded to Horowitz by saying “Insanity has no god.”

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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 it.

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 candidates.

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 faith.”

Gimpel said splinter parties on the left were desperately seeking to make headlines by twisting the truth and taking remarks out of context.

“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.

“It’s dirty politics and people are sick and tired of it,” Gimpel said.

“We are 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.

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