“A Jewish Spring is sweeping Israel,” Bayit Yehudi head Naftali Bennett
triumphantly told his supporters late Tuesday night at the Kfar Maccabiah
complex in Ramat Gan after the exit polls were announced.
enthusiastically greeted him with the chant, “Here comes the next prime
minister,” even though it was already clear that his party, which came in at a
slated 11 mandates had done less well than the 16 mandates the pollsters had
Supporters sang “The Jewish nation lives” and waved flags, as
Bennett stood on stage, smiled and waved at them.
Bennett had hoped that
his party would be the third-largest.
Instead, it tied with Shas,
following Likud Beytenu at 31, Yesh Atid at 19 and Labor at 15.
the party grew by eight seats, up from the three that it held in the 18th
It was this victory that Bennett and party supporters focused
on, as he delivered a rousing speech touting Bayit Yehudi’s success.
first he thanked the IDF soldiers, who he said, were sitting in the cold on the
country’s borders guarding the country, as they stood at Kfar
“We wish you a good and quiet night,” he said to the soldiers,
and added, “You are the true heroes.”
Bennett repeated his party’s
message of unity and hope, stating the party’s slogan, “Today we have created a
new home in the State of Israel, a home for religious, secular, haredim, Jews,
Druse, Arabs, men, women, Sephardim and Ashkenzim.”
“Today, Israel is
restored,” he said. “Today, we have created a new home for those who want a
nation that is sure of itself, believes in its strength and knows how to protect
Bayit Yehudi, he said, is for all those who support the
IDF and are not prepared to have their hands tied or be referred to as
criminals. The soldiers, Benentt said, “are the reasons we can celebrate here
His party, he said, was the place for those who did not want to
see the country controlled by tycoons and who want to see prices
“We will be tested by our ability to fight for all of Israel,”
The party leader also stated that Bayit Yehudi would worry
about equality for all of Israel’s children, so that a child who was born in the
periphery would have the same chances as one from the Center.
Yehudi, he said, would ensure that Israeli children would learn of the nation’s
history, religion, heroes and traditions, adding that his party is for those who
support the nation of Israel and love it.
“We won’t apologize for it,” he
said before declaring that this is the land of our forefathers.
of his opposition to a Palestinian state, Bennett said, “There is no such thing
as ‘two narratives.’ There is one simple truth. The land of Israel belongs to
the nation of Israel.”
“We are restoring the Jewish soul to the State of
Israel,” he added.
In the past, the national-religious camp was an
important partner for both the Right and and Left when it came to establishing
Bayit Yehudi is not a sectorial party, and will serve
everyone’s interests, he said.
“Tonight we are once again making history.
Today we have returned to the center of the political map,” Bennett
Supporters broke up his speech with chants. Once he finished
speaking, they waved flags, sang songs and danced.