Shake-up in religious Zionism

Will Bayit Yehudi give in to the old order or keep its promise to start something new?

By ASHER COHEN
February 20, 2013 11:53
Zionist rally 521

Zionist rally 521. (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

Something new is happening in religious Zionism. Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) – the successor to the National Religious Party – fulfilled its election promise in brilliant style.

There are few similar examples of parties renewing themselves while making profound changes in virtually every significant area. For the first time in its history the party held primaries; it elected a young leader; the overwhelming majority of its elected Knesset Members are new faces; it succeeded in merging with the breakaway Tekumah; it included a secular woman on its Knesset list; a quarter of its newly elected Knesset faction are women; it replaced its predominantly religious agenda with wider national messages relevant to all segments of society; it won the support of thousands of non-religious voters; and above all, it replicated the National Religious Party’s best-ever electoral showing, the 12 seats it won in 1977.

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