Ariel: We Will Consider Our Next Steps

September 10, 2014  

Housing Minister Uri Ariel said on Wednesday evening that the Tekuma faction of the Jewish Home, which he heads, will consider its next step following the approval of the Jewish Home’s new constitution, which Ariel opposes.

“Unfortunately, our requests to pass a joint constitution after a union of the two parties went unanswered,” said Ariel, “In the coming days we will gather, discuss the new situation and decide how to act.”

The constitution passed even as tensions over the vote ran high. A clash broke out between MK Motti Yogev and a security guard after Yogev requested that the secret ballots be counted to protect against vote tampering. 

The constitution eventually passed, however, after a compromise was struck between Chairman Naftali Bennett and the proposal’s opponents. 

Bennett wants the Jewish Home’s list to include secular candidates and people who will appeal to the Russian-speaking and Druze sectors, among others.

The new constitution will allow Bennett to fill every fifth spot on the party’s Knesset list with an external candidate based on his own discretion. It will give him the power to cancel for candidates of his choosing the 2.5 year membership qualification period to be on the party list, and let him select all placements for Knesset executive positions and ministerial posts. The party’s central committee will be limited to approving the choices and not making them, as it currently does.

However, under the new compromise conditions set after a heated confrontation between opponents and supporters of the new deal, the constitution will be made open to amendments in another 3-5 months, and be will slated for review under the supervision of Rabbi Yitzhak Levy. 

Both critics and opponents of the move note that the change would see the party open itself to candidates, and representation, outside the Religious-Zionist sector and reach more of the general Israeli population – a change not unwanted by most of the party’s Knesset MKs.

Ariel has warned that the issue, if remained unresolved, could cause a potential split, torpedoing the Religious-Zionist vote for future Knesset coalitions in the event the vote becomes fragmented.

Despite this, Bennett has vowed to keep the party united – no matter the vote’s results – and proponents of the initiative note that the party’s religious Zionist ideology is enshrined in the constitution anyway.

Political officials predicted on Wednesday evening that if Ariel will not be able to find common ground with the Jewish Home party following the passing of the new constitution, he may split the party along with MKs Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Orit Struk, Zevulun Kalfa, Yoni Chetboun and Motti Yogev.

According to the sources, hareidi MKs from Shas could possibly join the party down the road.

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