The far-right anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-Reform movement Noam Party will try entering the government again in the March elections after deciding to not run in the last Knesset elections, the party announced last week.
Noam is an extremist party established by radical elements from the hard-line wing of the religious-Zionist community – specifically, close associates and allies of Rabbi Zvi Yisrael Tau, president of Yeshivat Har Hamor.
During a conference with activists of the Noam Party last Tuesday, Avi Maoz, former director-general of the Interior Minister and Housing Ministry and chairman of the party, stated that while "the media" was reporting that the elections were a battle between the "Bibi" (a nickname of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) bloc and the "just not Bibi" bloc, he believes that the actual battle is between the "'Jewish state for the people of Israel' bloc and the 'state of all its citizens' bloc."Noam's Twitter account claimed that hundreds of activists took part in the conference.
"This is the struggle between the blocs and we clearly position ourselves in the bloc of the Jewish state," said Maoz.
Maoz called for all the religious Zionist parties to run together, as otherwise they would likely not be able to pass the electoral threshold. "There is an opportunity here that will probably not be repeated," added Maoz, according to Israeli media.
In 2019, before the second round of Knesset elections, the party set up booths around the country manned by activists handing out pamphlets explaining Noam’s plan to make Israel “a normal nation” with anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-reform movement slogans.
Noam was formed by leaders of the Hazon movement, a hardline national-religious organization that campaigns against reform Jews and the LGBTQ+ community. While Noam became active again in recent months on social media after a prolonged break, Hazon has remained inactive for about 11 months.
Hazon entered the public eye in 2019 after the organization displayed a large banner on a hotel near the entrance to Jerusalem reading, "A father and a mother = a family. The courage to be normal."
The banner quickly sparked outrage from the Israeli LGBTQ+ community. The Agudah – The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel - contacted the hotel and the banner was quickly removed.
This banner was part of a much larger campaign started by Hazon, a movement that describes itself as dedicated to "returning the Jewish character to the national agenda in Israel." The campaign was centered on using the time before the election to pressure politicians to agree to a religious Jewish agenda for the State.
The campaign targeted a variety of topics, including work and public transport on Shabbat, the Women of the Wall movement, and the silencing of right-wing and religious movements. Hazon described all of these things as "not normal" in almost all of its publications.
A large portion of Hazon's campaigns has been aimed at the issue of same-sex couples and families. The campaigns consist of an aggressive social media, digital, and paper-media effort. A petition campaign by the organization garnered over 123,000 signatures within 36 hours, including the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Aryeh Stern, and the Chief Rabbi of the Old City, Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl, according to Srugim news.