(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Name: Yoni Chetboun
Party: Bayit Yehudi
status: Married, 6 children
Aliya: I made aliya in my mother’s stomach. My
parents made aliya from France to Nahariya when she was nine-months
Profession before becoming an MK: Major in the IDF’s Egoz
Reconnaissance Unit, received Chief of Staff’s Citation for his service in the
Battle of Bint Jbail in the Second Lebanon War. Managed a strategic consulting
company that worked with NGOs and government offices and led Ra’ananim, an NGO
for young religious Zionists.
Why did you decide to enter politics?
long IDF service and leading public battles, I reached the conclusion that the
main way to influence the character of Israeli society is in the political
field. It’s important for me to emphasize that politics is not the only way to
have an influence, and I salute those who chose to work in education, the IDF,
the economy and social organizations.What are the first three bills you
plan to propose?
In my opinion, it’s very populist to make declarations and
propose bills in one’s first days as an MK, and I have decided to dedicate the
coming weeks to learning [the ropes].
I have decided to promote two
central issues in the upcoming Knesset, with God’s help. First, strengthening
[poor] neighborhoods, development towns and the weaker population, which,
unfortunately, have suffered from continued abandonment for decades. In the
election, the discourse was mostly about the middle class, but I waved the flag
of the periphery.
The second issue is strengthening the values of Zionism
in Israel and fighting increasing delegitimization [of the Jewish state] in
Israel and abroad. As an officer and commander in the IDF, I unfortunately met
many post-Zionist organizations that weaken the IDF’s activities and harmed our
What was the most interesting experience on the
Throughout the campaign, I traveled all over the country and met
people. One of the most interesting days was a tour in neighborhoods in southern
Tel Aviv, where I met a family that made aliya from Morocco in the 1950s, and is
the only Jewish family in a building of African migrants. I was astounded by the
situation, but when I asked them about it, they said, “This is our home, and you
don’t leave your home.”This Knesset has a record-high number of women
and religious people. How do you think this will affect the way it functions and
the kinds of changes it brings?
In my eyes, the major change is not in gender or
in kippot, but the fact that the current Knesset has dozens of new MKs with
achievements in social and ideological areas.
The meaning of this is that
the discourse [in the legislature] is much more values-driven, with more
cooperation and less low politics.Do you think haredim and Arabs should
perform military or national service, and if so, how should the state enforce
As someone who studied for years in yeshiva and also served in the army for
10 years, I and my religious- Zionist friends prove that Torah and army can be
Still, it is clear to me that the world of Torah study is
important and an existential matter for Israel. Therefore, it is important to
allow those who truly study Torah with diligence to continue their studies. The
main problem is with those who are registered in yeshivas but don’t actually
Bayit Yehudi is the only party that can be a bridge between the
haredi and secular worlds, while emphasizing benefits for those who serve and
creating infrastructure in the IDF or civilian service for haredim. It’s clear
that nothing will be accomplished through force.
Do you support a
religious-Zionist candidate, such as Rabbi David Stav, for the Chief Rabbinate?
I don’t want to talk about one person or another, but it is clear to me that the
head of the Chief Rabbinate must be someone who is great in Torah and values the
State of Israel and the Zionist vision.What can be done to lower the
cost of housing in Israel?
The central problem that led to an increase in
housing prices in Israel is the low supply of land and construction
possibilities. Today, the state has a monopoly on 93 percent of the land, and
because of bureaucracy, homes can’t be built, and prices won’t go down.
Construction in western Samaria can also lower housing prices in Tel
What do you think can be cut in the 2013 state budget, which must
be passed within 45 days of the government’s swearing in?
I’ll surprise you. As
an officer who served many years in the IDF, I think that billions of wasted
dollars can be cut from the Defense Ministry. The lack of transparency in how
resources are used prevents any possibility of economic efficiency and
redistributions of funds to welfare and education.What is your position
on talks with the Palestinian Authority and a possible Palestinian state?
last election proved that the Israeli public understands that the idea of two
states is not realistic and not applicable, and showed that the public voted on
The next government must say clearly that the Land
of Israel belongs exclusively to the People of Israel because of our historic
and biblical rights. We should not be embarrassed; it’s the truth. A lot of
problems will be solved if we start feeling, saying and acting this
way.Do you support the adoption of the Edmund Levy Report, which
recommends the state approve unauthorized Jewish settlements in the West Bank?