Bennett: A Jewish spring is sweeping Israel

In post-elections speech, Bayit Yehudi head hails IDF soldiers as "true heroes," promises to "fight for all of Israel."

Naftali Bennett makes post-election speech 370 (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Naftali Bennett makes post-election speech 370
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
“A Jewish Spring is sweeping Israel,” Bayit Yehudi head Naftali Bennett triumphantly told his supporters late Tuesday night at the Kfar Maccabiah complex in Ramat Gan after the exit polls were announced.
Supporters enthusiastically greeted him with the chant, “Here comes the next prime minister,” even though it was already clear that his party, which came in at a slated 11 mandates had done less well than the 16 mandates the pollsters had predicted.
Supporters sang “The Jewish nation lives” and waved flags, as Bennett stood on stage, smiled and waved at them.
Bennett had hoped that his party would be the third-largest.
Instead, it tied with Shas, following Likud Beytenu at 31, Yesh Atid at 19 and Labor at 15.
Still, the party grew by eight seats, up from the three that it held in the 18th Knesset.
It was this victory that Bennett and party supporters focused on, as he delivered a rousing speech touting Bayit Yehudi’s success.
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But first he thanked the IDF soldiers, who he said, were sitting in the cold on the country’s borders guarding the country, as they stood at Kfar Maccabiah.
“We wish you a good and quiet night,” he said to the soldiers, and added, “You are the true heroes.”
Bennett repeated his party’s message of unity and hope, stating the party’s slogan, “Today we have created a new home in the State of Israel, a home for religious, secular, haredim, Jews, Druse, Arabs, men, women, Sephardim and Ashkenzim.”
“Today, Israel is restored,” he said. “Today, we have created a new home for those who want a nation that is sure of itself, believes in its strength and knows how to protect its citizens.”
Bayit Yehudi, he said, is for all those who support the IDF and are not prepared to have their hands tied or be referred to as criminals. The soldiers, Benentt said, “are the reasons we can celebrate here tonight.”
His party, he said, was the place for those who did not want to see the country controlled by tycoons and who want to see prices lowered.
“We will be tested by our ability to fight for all of Israel,” Bennett said.
The party leader also stated that Bayit Yehudi would worry about equality for all of Israel’s children, so that a child who was born in the periphery would have the same chances as one from the Center.
Bayit Yehudi, he said, would ensure that Israeli children would learn of the nation’s history, religion, heroes and traditions, adding that his party is for those who support the nation of Israel and love it.
“We won’t apologize for it,” he said before declaring that this is the land of our forefathers.
Speaking of his opposition to a Palestinian state, Bennett said, “There is no such thing as ‘two narratives.’ There is one simple truth. The land of Israel belongs to the nation of Israel.”
“We are restoring the Jewish soul to the State of Israel,” he added.
In the past, the national-religious camp was an important partner for both the Right and and Left when it came to establishing coalitions.
Bayit Yehudi is not a sectorial party, and will serve everyone’s interests, he said.
“Tonight we are once again making history. Today we have returned to the center of the political map,” Bennett said.
Supporters broke up his speech with chants. Once he finished speaking, they waved flags, sang songs and danced.