By Ted Belman
We all have heard that Netanyahu was under great pressure to impose a long term freeze on construction east of the greenline and even in Jerusalem. I have commented that Bennett went along with this because there was no hullabalu. It seemed to me that the freeze should have been enough to bring the government down.
NoW MK Orly Struck who is part of the Tekuma / National Union faction of Bayit Yahudi, said Jewish Home Turning into Likud B. In discussing the possible split, she confirmed that:
A point of disagreement is the building freeze in Judea and Samaria: “There was a decision by the faction to protest in front of [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu and walk out of votes in the plenum as long as there was a freeze in Judea and Samaria.” This, she added, was meant to drive home to Netanyahu that for the Jewish Home, a freeze is a red line. The decision was dragged out until in the end the disagreement led to open conflict between Minister [Uri} Ariel and Bennett.”
But that was not the only thing that is contentious.
MK Struk explained that the party is being “overrun” by representatives who do not belong to the religious Zionist sector, much less the hardali (hareidi religious Zionist) stream. The party is thus turning into a Likud B, she said.
“I say with regret that there are more and more signs that Naftali Bennett is not interested in Tekuma and Jewish Home as a united party,” she elaborated. “We functioned together in an excellent way in the last Knesset and while it is true that there are ideological gaps, they can be bridged with mechanims and the same common work methods.”
Struk opined that people near Bennett leaked to the secular press that Tekuma is insisting that the party take instructions from a “council of sages” – but explained that the rabbis in question are from all streams, that their position is a purely advisory one with decisions made by the faction, and that the rabbis have been advising the party for two years already.
Bennett, we know, wants the party to appeal to both religious and secular Israelis. Perhaps he will agree that a building freeze crosses the red line.
In his duel with Indyk he said part of the problem is that “we’re inconsistent. You can’t say that you favor a Palestinian state and then build communities there.” What he is saying is that Israel must abandon the TSS and keep building.