Marzel plans Knesset campaign with Wolpo

Geocartographic Institute report showed that such a party could win as many as four seats.

ben gvir marzel read 248.88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
ben gvir marzel read 248.88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Far-right activist Baruch Marzel on Monday announced that he plans to run for the Knesset as part of Rabbi Shlomo Dov Wolpo's new party, Eretz Yisrael Shelanu (Our Land of Israel). Late last month, Wolpo, a Chabad rabbi who has never before sought political office, announced his intention to form the new party to defend the territorial integrity of Greater Israel. On Monday, after research done by the Geocartographic Institute showed that such a party could win as many as four seats in the Knesset if it garnered the support of other far-Right politicians, Marzel, who lives in Hebron, added his name to its list at a press conference in the basement of a Jerusalem hotel. "I am convinced that the combination of the two of us can bring us over the electoral threshold," said Marzel, who failed in bids to make it into the Knesset both in 2003 and 2006. Wolpo said he was moved to start the party after watching Likud Party leader Binyamin Netanyahu's attempts to keep right-wing politician Moshe Feiglin low on the party's Knesset list and after the new right-wing party Habayit Hayehudi failed to take a firm stand against territorial concessions. The Likud, which at one time was a right-wing party, now treats people who love Israel as if they were the enemy, said Marzel. He and Wolpo said they now believe they are the only right-wing party running for the 18th Knesset which stands firmly in support of Greater Israel, and they called on all those who do not believe in negotiations with the Palestinians to join them. Among the politicians they hope to attract are former National Union members Arye Eldad and Uri Ariel. "I never thought I would run for the Knesset," said Wolpo. But he said he had been alarmed by the way that the government of Israel had become an enemy of the people, because it had taken so many steps to support terror. In America, he said, the government understands that it must fight terror and it sends its soldiers to Afghanistan and to Iraq to do so. But here in Israel, the government gives money to Hamas in the Gaza Strip and frees terrorists from prison. "Our existence in this land is now questionable," he said. "It's a hard thing to say, but our government is working with the enemy," he said. But it's not just the government's inability to stop Kassam rockets from Gaza or its failure to free captive soldier Gilad Schalit, who has been held by Hamas in Gaza since June 2006, that is the problem. The government has also failed to do enough to provide for they country's children, he said. "We want to make sure that no child will go hungry," he said. In the past Wolpo, the founder of S.O.S Israel, a right-wing group dedicated to preserving Greater Israel, has made waves by talking about creating a new state in Judea and Samaria and by offering cash awards to soldiers who refused to participate in the evacuation of Jewish families from apartments in the Hebron marketplace. Last week the State Attorney's Office ordered police to investigate Wolpo and others who had been involved in offering soldiers those awards. Wolpo said that the move was political and was a direct response to his announcement that he planned to start a new party. Nor, he later told The Jerusalem Post, did he see a contradiction between his support of a new state in Judea and Samaria and his intention to run for the Knesset. It is all part of the battle to get rid of this government and to keep Judea and Samaria in Jewish hands, he said. In speaking with reporters at Monday's event, he took issue with attempts by the media and others to label him or Marzel as the "extreme" or "radical" right. The time has come, he said, for people to recognize that he and Marzel simply represent the true right wing. "When we say Israel is ours, we are not radical - we are true Zionists who want God to return his blessing to Zion," he said.