Rabbi Haim Druckman, and several other leading religious-Zionist rabbis have endorsed the Religious Zionist Party, which is comprised of the right-wing National Union Party and the ultranationalist Otzma Yehudit Party.
Druckman, perhaps the most politically influential rabbinic leader of the religious-Zionist community, has in the past been closely allied with the Bayit Yehudi Party, the successor of the National Religious Party in which Druckman served as an MK for many years.
His endorsement of the new union marks a departure for mainstream religious-Zionist rabbinic leaders who have until now backed Bayit Yehudi and its more moderate image.
In a public letter, Druckman with Rabbi Dov Lior and Rabbi Tzvi Tau adjured the religious-Zionist public to vote for the Religious Zionist Party to ensure the establishment of a right-wing government “and not, God forbid, a left-wing government.”
All the candidates on the party’s list are committed to “the wholeness of the Torah, the people and the land as one,” they wrote.
Among the other signatories to the letter are: Rabbi Mordechai Greenberg, dean of Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh; Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, dean of the Nir Yeshiva of Kiryat Arba; and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, dean of Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim in the Old City of Jerusalem.
The No. 3 candidate on the Religious Zionist Party’s list is Otzma leader Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is likely to be elected according to recent polls.
Otzma Yehudit’s ultranationalist, Kahanist roots are more extreme than the traditional religious-Zionist worldview.
Druckman endorsed the Union of Right-wing Parties in the April 2019 elections, which also included Otzma. That union also included the Bayit Yehudi Party, which is closely aligned with the religious-Zionist mainstream.
Bayit Yehudi has been reduced to a rump party with no chance of passing the electoral threshold, so it has thrown its support to the Yamina Party led by former Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett.