Yesh Atid: Bennett's smile can't hide Tekuma's extremism

Left slams Bayit Yehudi on opposing public transportation on Saturdays; Tekuma newcomer was arrested ahead of disengagement.

January 12, 2015 17:55
3 minute read.
Yair Lapid


Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid accused Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett of being the smiling beard for Tekuma Monday.

Speaking the morning after Tekuma chose four candidates to run in spots saved for the more rabbinically oriented party on the Bayit Yehudi list, Lapid said voters must know that there are extremists on the joint list.

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On Sunday night, Tekuma chose Construction Minister Uri Ariel, Bezalel Smotrich, MK Orit Struck and Zevulun Kalfa to, respectively, hold the second, ninth, 15th and 18th spots on the Bayit Yehudi list. Bayit Yehudi’s primary will be held on Wednesday.

“Naftali is an incredibly nice, cheerful man, but Tekuma, a right-wing extremist party, is standing behind him,” Lapid stated. “Whoever is voting for Bennett must know who else he is bringing in to the Knesset.”

Lapid singled out Struck and “a guy who was arrested by the Shin Bet,” meaning Smotrich, as exemplifying Tekuma’s extremism.

Smotrich was arrested in 2005, shortly before the Gaza disengagement, on suspicion of attempting to damage infrastructure and block roads in protest. He was released after three weeks in a Shin Bet facility and was not charged.

On Sunday night, Yesh Atid’s spokesman recounted that Struck “thanked God for taking [former prime minister] Ariel Sharon before his time.”

The party said the Tekuma election revealed “Bennett’s attempt to dress up as a liberal, moderate, harmless Israeli.”

Ariel called Yesh Atid whiny religiophobes and said Tekuma has a great team that will be part of Bayit Yehudi’s winning list.

Bayit Yehudi’s spokesman referred to the investigation of MK Boaz Toporovsky in the current government corruption scandal: “We recommend MK Yair Lapid deal with cleaning up his shattered party from the corruption spreading in its ranks.

“The biggest corruption is how Lapid blocked the housing market for his personal political whims, and only now that he left is Israel recovering from the destruction of his term,” the spokesman added.

He also called for Lapid to be more modest when talking about “people who were elected in a democratic process, as opposed to the autocracy in his party.”

Meanwhile, the religious-Zionist news site Kipa released the second video in its series on Bayit Yehudi primary candidates’ views.

The first video, in which the contenders expressed opposition to gay marriage, was met with heavy criticism from the Left.

This time, the clip focused on public transportation on Shabbat and received fewer angry responses. The most popular answer candidates gave was to maintain the status quo.

Knesset Finance Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky suggested that Sundays be days off from work on which there would be transportation.

Bar-Ilan Prof. Asher Cohen and Shimon Riklin said transportation needs to be dealt with as part of an overall solution for the Sabbath, which would be worked out in partnership with secular Israelis and include prohibiting all trade on Saturdays.

“Everyone can do whatever he wants with his car, but it is important that in public, the Land of Israel remains [observing] Shabbat,” Avraham Azoulay said.

Chanie Luz was the only candidate to say non-Jewish Israelis should be taken into consideration.

Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On responded to the video on Facebook, pointing out that someone can take a bus ride on Friday during the day for NIS 6.90, but has to take a taxi that costs much more in the evening Gal-On described the video as “candidates repeating a message that, in the name of religion, stomps on anyone who is secular and doesn’t have a car.

“Meretz supports public transportation on Shabbat. Freedom of movement is a basic right and there is no moral justification to allow it in Israel only to those who have a private car.... To visit grandparents, go to a movie, the sea or the hospital – those are things everyone deserves in their weekend, and not just those who have money for a taxi,” she added.

Reform movement director-general Gilad Kariv, a Labor primary candidate, said Bayit Yehudi wants to make society “more extreme, more religious and more conflicted.

“All of their funny propaganda videos cannot hide their true extremism,” he said.

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