(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Splitting religious Zionist voters ahead of the next election would cause grave harm to the Right in general and Religious-Zionists in particular, National Union MKs Uri Ariel and Bezalel Smotrich wrote Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett in a sharply worded letter Sunday.
The National Union, which is further to the Right than Bayit Yehudi, has been given reserved slots on the Bayit Yehudi list in recent elections.
This has caused resentment within Bayit Yehudi, where Knesset candidates are elected in primaries by more than 50,000 party members. A small group of some 20 council members choose candidates in the National Union.
Ariel and Smotrich wrote in the letter that they had received an impression from the media that Bennett no longer wanted them, because he wants his party to be less right-wing and less Religious-Zionist.
“Abandoning the Right flank to win votes from the Center would be a terrible mistake, both morally and electorally,” the MKs wrote. “This mistake would bring about disaster for the nationalist camp and religious Zionism. Our constituency wants unity, and justifiably.”
Bennett responded on Twitter that he did not know what the fuss was about.
“I invite everyone to compete in primaries that are democratic,” he wrote. “There is room for everyone.”
Ariel and Smotrich responded that they were never offered the proposal personally be Bennett, and even if they would be it would be an empty, insincere gesture that would not indicate that Bennett wants to maintain unity in religious Zionism.
“Naftali, we are turning to you out of responsibility to the nationalist camp and religious Zionism and pleading with you to sit with us and find a way for us to continue the partnership that has brought many achievements to the values in which we all believe.”