Dani Dayan and Naftali Bennett..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Former Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria chairman Dani Dayan, one of the settler movement’s most eloquent defenders, announced Sunday he will seek a Knesset seat with Bayit Yehudi.
Dayan made the announcement at the Knesset in a joint press conference with party leader Naftali Bennett. The two, who sparred when they worked together at the council, said they settled their differences at last weekend’s Saban Forum.
“People at the Saban Forum were so focused on Buji [Labor leader Isaac Herzog] and [Hatnua head] Tzipi [Livni] that they missed the real bond between me and Dani Dayan,” Bennett said.
Bennett noted that their relationship “had its ups and downs” when he worked for Dayan for two years, but said it was important to set aside differences for a greater good.
Downplaying his past quote that “Bennett cares only about Bennett,” Dayan said he knew such quotes would be found in archives but that their disputes were only tactical, not ideological, and now they matter “like melted snow.”
Dayan, who is secular, said he left Likud for Bayit Yehudi because of its firm opposition to a Palestinian state. He complained that there were too many politicians who say “yes, but” to the two-state solution.
“It is natural for me to join the party that says no unequivocally to a Palestinian state,” he said. “Only if Bayit Yehudi is very big can we prevent Tzipi Livni from being appointed to lead negotiations.”
Answering a question from The Jerusalem Post at the press conference, Dayan declined to rule out the possibility that he would sit in a cabinet together with Livni.
“I hope a nationalist government will be formed in which all the components will be from the nationalist camp,” Dayan said.
“But who am I to disqualify? I just hope she won’t be in charge of negotiations.”
Dayan joins many other candidates who have announced they are running with Bayit Yehudi, including former Im Tirtzu head Ronen Shoval, settler leaders Shimon Ricklin and Yigal Dilmoni, former IDF chief rabbi Avichai Ronsky, journalist Sofia-Ron Moria and Arab Muslim Zionist woman Anett Haskia.