Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionist Party signed a unity agreement on Thursday with The Jewish Home, led by Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Hagit Moshe. The unification, which had been in the works for a few months now, will be named “The National Religious Party - Religious Zionism” and will be led by Smotrich.
It was noted in reports that Jewish Home has millions of shekel in debt, which the joint party will now share the burden of together.
It is hoped that the new partnership will bear immediate fruit in the upcoming municipal elections across the country - where Moshe will also be running.
The Jewish Home is notable as it was the former home of Naftali Bennett, who served as prime minister for a year between 2021 and 2022.
The party fell apart following Bennett’s forming of a unity government with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, a move in which critics viewed as counter to his promises on the campaign trail - and what ultimately led to the collapse of his government and his ouster from political power.
Smotrich celebrates the merger
Smotrich said at the signing ceremony that it is a “unification of forces… the right thing for religious Zionism and the Right.
“Religious Zionism will continue to be a home for all shades of this great public and in this, the party will continue to lead and be an important and central pillar in the national government and the leadership of the state. We have many tasks ahead of us and I am full of hope that the merger of the parties will be an important step in strengthening the national camp and the entire right,” he concluded.
Moshe added that “The time has come for a broad and courageous unification that will establish one valuable and strong political house… When I see the social challenge that the State of Israel has encountered, I have no doubt that this is the time to put our differences aside and focus on the values shared by every person who belongs to the national religious community.
“Only with great unity will we return to being the connector of Israeli society and lead to a broad and true social fusion in the entire Israeli society. Our strength is in our unity,” she said.
The move is seen as a positive arrangement for both parties. For Religious Zionism, it allows them to broaden their municipal power. For Jewish Home, it gives the party a revival from extinction on the national level - where they currently have seats in the Knesset.
The unity agreement is subject to the approval of both parties’ central offices.