(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Religious Zionists could have two parties to choose from in the next general election if Bayit Yehudi continues to mistreat the Tekuma MKs in its faction, the head of Tekuma, Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel, told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.
Tekuma, the remaining remnant of the National Union alliance that remains in the Knesset, was given key slots on the Bayit Yehudi slate in last year’s election. Since then there have been efforts to merge the two parties that have not succeeded.
Ariel expressed outrage that Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett instructed his party’s officials to draft a constitution before the merger took place.
The constitution is expected to pass at next Wednesday’s Bayit Yehudi convention at Tel Aviv University.
“If we want, we can run alone or with other politicians,” Ariel said. “It’s not a threat. We need to see what develops. We have not been treated in a collegial manner, as we should be if they want to unite with us.”
Ariel made similar statements in a letter he sent to Bennett Thursday night.
If the constitution passes, Bennett will have the right to reserve three slots in the list’s top 15 for the next Knesset. The four Tekuma MKs, who were elected by a council of some 20 people, will have to compete with their Bayit Yehudi colleagues in primaries among tens of thousands of members.
Ariel denounced primaries as a “terrible and corrupt system” of electing Knesset members.
A Bayit Yehudi official responded that “in the end, all our MKs will run in primaries and enable our voters to decide.” Bayit Yehudi faction head Ayelet Shaked said Tekuma MKs could do well in Bayit Yehudi’s primaries.
“They are the flesh of our flesh,” she said.