Bayit Yehudi party head Naftali Bennett was both hailed and heckled as he made a
brief pre-election visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday
“You’re my hero,” yelled out one woman.
screamed out: “17 mandates!” But not everyone was so
“Criminal,” yelled out one tall young man sporting a black
hat and beard.
“I love you, my brother,” Bennett yelled back.
the young man followed him, as Bennett walked quickly through the outer stone
plaza toward the Kotel’s tunnel, surrounded by a gaggle of reporters,
photographers, security guards and police.
This was not a hand-shaking
press stop. Idle observers, even supportive ones, were hard pressed to
reach him. Still the young haredi man persisted.
“What you are you
doing here when you don’t want us to study Torah?” he yelled out, referencing
the party’s support for drafting haredi men into national service.
would rather die or go to jail than stop studying Torah, “ the man
“My mother is crying at night,” he shouted again, as police
pushed him back in the crowd.
Police later said they detained a youth in
the Western Wall Plaza on Monday afternoon who called out obscene remarks
Once he reached the Western Wall, Bennett tucked his own
personal note into the cracks of the Kotel’s stones. On the way back to his car,
he paused for a moment to make a statement to the media.
years ago we had a home here, a Jewish state and we lost it because of internal
fights and rows,” he said. “Today we are embarking on a wonderful journey to
unite all the parts of Israel – religious, secular, haredi – all of us together.
I pray to God to give me the power to unite all of Israel and to restore
Israel’s Jewish soul. Amen.”
As he drove away from the Western Wall, one
supporter banged on the trunk and said, “the next prime minister!” Separately,
MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) filed a complaint of incitement to police on Monday
night against Bayit Yehudi party member Jeremy Gimpel, who is 14th on its
Tibi’s complaint came several days after a video from 2011
came to light, in which Gimpel described a theoretical situation in which the
Dome of the Rock was “blown up” and the cornerstone of the Third Temple was laid
“Gimpel’s statements plant seeds of dispute and incite
to violence, and steps must be taken against him,” Tibi stated.
and the Bayit Yehudi declined to officially comment, but Jeremy Saltan, the
party’s English-speaking campaign manager, tweeted: “Tibi just gave the Bayit
Yehudi another seat.”
Melanie Lidman contributed to this report.