The Jewish Home

The Jewish Home

הבית היהודי
LeaderRafi Peretz
Founded2008; 11 years ago (2008)
Preceded byNational Religious Party
HeadquartersJerusalem
IdeologyReligious Zionism
Religious conservatism
Social conservatism
National conservatism
Orthodox interests
Settler interests
Political positionRight-wing to far-right[1]
ReligionOrthodox Judaism[2]
National affiliationUnion of Right-Wing Parties[3]
Yamina[4][5] (formerly)[6]
International affiliationNone
Colours          Blue, green
www.baityehudi.org.il

The Jewish Home (Hebrew: הַבַּיִת הַיְהוּדִי, HaBayit HaYehudi) is an Orthodox Jewish and religious Zionist political party in Israel.[7] It was originally formed by a merger of the National Religious Party, Moledet, and Tkuma in November 2008. However, Moledet broke away from the party after its top representative was placed only 17th on the new party's list for the 2009 Knesset elections, and instead ran on a joint list with Hatikva.[8] Tkuma later also left to join the National Union.

For the 2013 elections, the Jewish Home and Tkuma parties ran a joint list under the leadership of the chairman of the Jewish Home, Naftali Bennett.[9] The party ran with Tkuma again in the 2015 elections.[10] In April 2019, Jewish Home ran on a joint list with Tkuma[11] and Otzma Yehudit.[12] The parties registered under the name Union of Right-Wing Parties.[13] The party ran on a joint list with Tkuma and the New Right ahead of the September 2019 Israeli legislative election,[14] though the joint list split into two factions on 10 October.[6]

History

The National Religious Party and the National Union originally allied in order to run a joint list for the 2006 elections.

On 3 November 2008, it was announced that the NRP and the Moledet and Tkuma factions of the Union would merge to form a new party.[15] However, the Ahi and Hatikva factions of the Union rejected the merger — their leaders, Effi Eitam and Aryeh Eldad, respectively, were both opposed to the party being a purely religious one,[16] while Eitam was also unhappy that the new party would not hold primaries.[17]

The party was initially nameless. Five names were proposed: HaBayit HaYehudi ("Jewish Home"), Shorashim ("Roots"), Atzma'ut ("Independence"), Shalem ("Whole"), and Amihai ("My Nation Lives"). In an on-line ballot, the members chose "Jewish Home".[18]

Ya'akov Amidror was chosen to head a public committee formed to choose the party's list for the 2009 elections.[15] On 8 December 2008, Rabbi Professor Daniel Hershkovitz, a mathematician from the Technion, was chosen to head the new party.[19]

When Jewish Home announced its candidate list for the upcoming elections, five of the top six slots went to ex-NRP members. MK Uri Ariel of Tkuma was the sole exception: He received the third slot. Polls then indicated Jewish Home would get five to seven seats, thus making the first six spaces highly contested. The ex-National Union members again complained. Ex-Moledet MK Benny Elon stated that he would not seek re-election, and was replaced on the candidate list by American immigrant Uri Bank. The remaining Moledet members broke away, and allied with Hatikva in a revived Union (Bank also later switched to the Union.)

On 25 December, Tkuma MK Ariel left Jewish Home, and joined the Union.[20] This left Jewish Home as little more than a renamed NRP: The Jewish Home, the new National Religious Party. In the 2009 election, the party won three seats.[21]

The Jewish Home election poster: "Something new begins", 2013

In November 2012, the Jewish Home held separate primaries for leadership of the party. My Israel leader Naftali Bennett won over incumbent MK Zevulun Orlev, winning more than two thirds of the vote, and Orlev announced he was resigning from politics. A week later, primaries for the remaining members of the list were held, and Nissan Slomiansky, Ayelet Shaked, and Uri Orbach reached the top spots. With the National Union breaking up, Uri Ariel officially re-united Tkuma with the Jewish Home to run on a joint list in the 2013 Israeli elections. A few Moledet candidates were included. In the elections that were held on 22 January 2013, the Jewish Home won 12 seats. The Jewish Home entered the thirty-third government of Israel under prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and has 3 ministers (Bennett, Ariel, and Orbach) and 2 deputy-ministers (Ben-Dahan and Wortzman).

As part of its 2013 coalition agreement, the Jewish Home had the right to veto any laws that change the status quo on religious issues. In December 2013, the party vetoed a Yesh Atid-proposed bill that sought to give gay fathers equal tax benefits, saying it would have far-reaching implications on marriage laws. Currently, mothers receive more benefits than do fathers under the law, and thus, couples composed of two men are ineligible for certain tax breaks.[22]

In December 2016, the party's member Shuli Mualem proposed the so-called Regulation Bill. The law seeks to legalize dozens of small outposts of settlements built in the occupied Palestinian territories on private ground of individual Palestinians.[23]

The Regulation Law passed legislation on 6 February 2017.[24] The law exclusively refers to Palestinians, and allows the government to expropriate land from individual Palestinians against their will for a compensation up to 25% above the land's value.[25]

On 16 November 2018, the Jewish Home issued a statement claiming that the party intended to withdraw from Netanyahu's coalition government, and demanded an early election "as soon as possible".[26][27] This threat came after Netanyahu denied party leader Naftali Bennett's request to become the Defense Minister.[28] On 18 November, Netanyahu reneged on an earlier pledge to remove Jewish Home member Eli Ben-Dahan as Deputy Defense Minister.[29] Bennett afterwards reneged on this pledge to withdraw on 19 November 2018, and agreed to abandon his push to become Defense Minister and keep the party in the coalition.[30]

In December 2018, three Jewish Home MKs, including Bennett, left the party to form the New Right.[31] Rafi Peretz was elected leader of the party on 4 February 2019.[32]

On 14 February 2019, Jewish Home once again agreed to run on a joint list with Tkuma. Jewish Home leader Rafi Peretz headed the joint list; Tkuma chair Bezalel Smotrich was in the number two slot.[11]

On 20 February 2019, Jewish Home agreed to form a technical bloc with the Otzma Yehudit party, forming the Union of Right-Wing Parties.[12]

On 28 July 2019, Jewish Home and Tkuma – who had already agreed to run on a joint list in the September 2019 elections – formed a technical bloc with the New Right party, headed by Ayelet Shaked, which is named Yamina.[4]