Chetboun Claims Otzma Yehudit Death Threats in ‘Spin’

January 28, 2015  

Associates of MK Yoni Chetboun, of Eli Yishai’s Yachad – Ha’am Itanu, have claimed that in the last few days Chetboun and his family have received threats from Otzma Yehudit activists. 

According to their report to the Knesset, Otzma Yehudit supporters told Chetboun that if there is no agreement on a joint list between Ha’am Itanu and Otzma Yehudit, he and his family’s lives will be in danger. 

Following an assessment of the information by a Knesset officer, security was tightened around Chetboun. 

Of the incident Chetboun said, “we want to promote unity between the national religious and the haredim. That is Yachad’s platform. It’s too bad a bunch of offensive bullies want to destroy the historical unity we are trying to lead.”

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, Otzma Yehudit’s spokesman responded sharply to Chetboun’s accusations against the party.

“This is the last spin Chetboun has to use and he does it in the best tradition of politicians caught in disgrace,” charged Ben-Gvir. “Chetboun set impossible conditions,” he continued, alluding to failed talks of a technical bloc joint list between the parties.

“He demanded that Otzma Yehudit permanently not ascend to the Temple Mount, as well as announce that to the media, ignoring the fact that he himself was in the same party as Uri Ariel [Tekuma] who ascends to the Temple Mount every week,” continued the attorney. “He also demanded that we join [Binyamin Netanyahu’s] coalition at any price for the sake of funding for his institutions.” 

Ben-Gvir concluded “Chetboun created these terms to blow up negotiations…I call on Chetboun to stop impeding unity. With Rabbi Meir Mazuz and Eli Yishai, we had pleasant conversations and a good understanding, but Chetboun ruined all this with his irresponsibility.”

Talks between Otzma Yehudit and Ha’am Itanu collapsed Tuesday night after weeks of tension and public calls for the parties to run on a technical bloc join list, after sources indicated earlier that an MK with Yishai, which excludes all others but Chetboun, “torpedoed” the talks.

The two parties were in zero hour talks ahead of a Thursday deadline to submit Knesset lists, when Yishai pushed last minute demands, as outlined by Ben-Gvir, on Otzma Yehudit chairman former MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari. 

After discussing the demands with Rabbi Dov Lior, chief rabbi of Hevron – Kiryat Arba, who ordered them not to agree, Otzma Yehudit left the talks. 

If Otzma Yehudit and Yachad ran together, polls show the two parties comfortably entering the Knesset with seven seats, although separately, polls indicate they both are unlikely to pass the Knesset threshold raised by the outgoing government.

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