National religious rift widens as NU faction head jumps ship

Yehoar Gal throws support behind Habayit Hayehudi.

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
February 8, 2009 23:01
1 minute read.
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elections2009_248. (photo credit: )

 
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The divisions in the already splintered national religious camp grew bigger over the weekend after a leader of one of the factions making up the National Union Party threw his support behind the competing Habayit Hayehudi party. "There are people there [in the National Union] who are on the brink of insanity, and I do not support crazy people," said Col. (res.) Yehoar Gal, a founder of Hatikva, one of National Union's four factions. "I cannot promote a list when some of its members advocate refusing IDF orders, taking us to the insane fringe of [far-Right activist] Baruch Marzel," he said. Gal added that he felt closer to the newly formed Habayit Hayehudi, which is less hawkish that the National Union, and lashed out at modern Orthodox rabbis for "wrecking" religious Zionism by their interference in politics. The National Union dismissed Gal's criticism as unfounded. "The Land of Israel is more important than the personal scores Gal is trying to settle," the party said in a statement. The public tiff came as the religious Right, which failed to unite ahead of the elections, has been vying for votes from the same sector in Tuesday's race. Public opinion polls show that the National Union will garner between three and six seats, while Habayit Hayehudi is expected to gain between two and four. In the last elections, the National Union and the National Religious Party received nine Knesset seats by running on a joint list.

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