Naftali Bennett and Uri Ariel.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Bayit Yehudi will not run on a joint list with the more right-wing, religious-Zionist party Tekuma of Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel in the next general election, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett indicated Sunday.
Bennett won reelection as leader of Bayit Yehudi on Thursday.
He will now make an effort to widen the ranks of the party at the expense of Tekuma, which in the past two elections was given reserved slots on Bayit Yehudi’s Knesset list.
“I am in favor of unity, but I think everyone should run in [internal Bayit Yehudi] primaries,” Bennett told Army Radio. “I don’t believe in parachuting people. We have a terrific faction with a good variety, and I am proud of all of them.”
Bennett then noticeably mentioned Ariel last, when listing the MKs in the faction. Sources close to Ariel said he had not spoken to Bennett since Thursday and heard about the rejection from the radio.
Ariel said last week that he saw primaries as corrupt and that they should be eradicated for the government to be run properly.
In a statement he released following Bennett’s victory, he called upon him to keep his written promise to merge the parties.
“This is the time to sit together until the white smoke comes out and agree on unity and running together,” Ariel said. “Our constituents demand unity. Unity is the principled thing to do, as well as the best way to earn more mandates and increase the influence of religious Zionists and the nationalist camp on the path of the State of Israel.”
Sources close to Ariel said he had not given up hope despite Bennett’s statement and that another effort would likely be made to unite the two religious- Zionist parties ahead of the next general election.
“When money time comes, we will see what the polls say,” a source close to Ariel said.