National Religious Party–Religious Zionism

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National Religious Party–
Religious Zionism
מפלגה דתית לאומית–הציונות הדתית
AbbreviationMafdal–RZ
LeaderBezalel Smotrich[1]
FoundersBezalel Smotrich
Hagit Moshe
Founded20 August 2023
Merger ofReligious Zionist Party
The Jewish Home
Ideology
Political positionFar-right
Colours  Dark blue
  Orange
  Light Blue
Knesset
7 / 120
Election symbol
טב

The National-Religious Party–Religious Zionism (Hebrew: מפלגה דתית לאומית–הציונות הדתית, romanizedMiflaga Datit Leumit – HaTzionut HaDatit), or Mafdal–Religious Zionism, is a far-right religious Zionist political party in Israel. The party was formed in August 2023, when the Religious Zionist Party and The Jewish Home parties agreed to merge.[2] The merger is expected to give the former Religious Zionist Party a foothold at the municipal level, while The Jewish Home will be able to wield some power after not gaining any seats in the 2022 Israeli legislative election.[3] Hagit Moshe, the former head of The Jewish Home, will lead the party's Jerusalem list ahead of the 2024 Israeli municipal elections.[4] The election was originally set to take place on 30 October, but on 23 October the Knesset pushed back the date until 30 January 2024 as a result of the 2023 Israel–Hamas war.[5] The election was pushed back again on 31 December to 27 February.[6]

Background[edit]

Bezalel Smotrich defeated Uri Ariel in the Tkuma leadership election in January 2019.[7]

After difficult negotiations, Tkuma, The Jewish Home, and Otzma Yehudit reached a deal to run in the April 2019 election as the Union of Right-Wing Parties (winning five seats in the Knesset). In June 2019, Otzma Yehudit accused The Jewish Home of not honoring their election pact, and left the alliance.[8] The New Right (founded by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked after splitting from The Jewish Home in December 2018) had failed to pass the electoral threshold in the April 2019 election.[9] Ahead of the September 2019 Israeli legislative election, The Jewish Home and Tkuma (running as the United Right) allied with the New Right,[10] and called their joint list Yamina.[11] Despite Otzma and The Jewish Home initially agreeing to run on a joint list called the United Jewish Home in preparation for the 2020 Israeli legislative election,[12] Yamina was reformed, with Otzma Yehudit once again being left out.[13]

Smotrich rebranded his party from National Union-Tkuma to the Religious Zionist Party on 7 January 2021.[14] The following month, RZP, Otzma Yehudit, and Noam formed an electoral alliance,[15] with all three parties winning six seats in the 2021 election on a joint list.[16] The three parties ran together again in the 2022 election, with the RZP winning seven seats, Otzma Yehudit winning six seats, and Noam keeping its single seat.[17]

Hagit Moshe was elected head of The Jewish Home on 19 January 2021 by the parties Central Committee, replacing former head Rafi Peretz.[18] After failed negotiations with the RZP for the 2021 election, Moshe announced that the party would not run in the election, and instead supported Yamina[19] and allowed them to use "ב", the traditional symbol of Mafdal and The Jewish Home.[20] Shaked ended the brief alliance she had with Yoaz Hendel (called Zionist Spirit) prior to the 2022 election,[21] reportedly over Hendel's unwillingness to serve alongside Benjamin Netanyahu in government,[22] and instead headed the Yamina slate[23] that ran under The Jewish Home name in the 2022 election.[24] The Jewish Home did not clear the electoral threshold, and was left out of the Knesset.[25]

There were ongoing talks between Moshe and Smotrich going back as far as May 2023 discussing a joint run.[26] The Jewish Home central committee voted to dissolve the party on 20 August 2023.[27]

Knesset members[edit]

Knesset term Seats Members
2022– 7 Ofir Sofer, Orit Strook, Simcha Rothman, Michal Waldiger, Ohad Tal, Moshe Solomon, Zvi Sukkot

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Religious Zionism, Jewish Home parties unite". The Times of Israel. 3 August 2023. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  2. ^ Baruch, Hezki (3 August 2023). "Religious Zionism and Jewish Home parties merge". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  3. ^ Fritzhand, Troy (3 August 2023). "Religious Zionism to merge with Jewish Home". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  4. ^ Julian, Hana (3 August 2023). "Religious Zionism Party to Merge with Jewish Home for Local Elections". The Jewish Press. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  5. ^ Keller-Lynn, Carrie (23 October 2023). "Wartime Knesset pushes municipal elections to January 30, instead of next week". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  6. ^ Sokol, Sam (31 December 2023). "Municipal elections delayed again due to war, to be held February 27". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  7. ^ Magid, Jacob (14 January 2019). "Hardliner Smotrich wins race to lead influential Jewish Home sub-faction". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 15 October 2023.
  8. ^ Staff writer (20 June 2019). "Far-right Otzma Yehudit accuses Jewish Home of not honoring election pact". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 15 October 2023.
  9. ^ Wootliff, Raoul (10 October 2019). "Yamina party officially splits into New Right, Jewish Home-National Union". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 15 October 2023.
  10. ^ Staff (29 July 2019). "New Right, United Right reach final agreement on joint run". Israel National News. Retrieved 15 October 2023.
  11. ^ "United Right to run under name "Yemina"". Arutz Sheva. 12 August 2019. Retrieved 15 October 2023.
  12. ^ Jacob Magid; Staff writer (20 December 2019). "Jewish Home party, far-right Otzma Yehudit reunite ahead of third elections". The Times of Israel. Archived from the original on 20 December 2019. Retrieved 15 October 2023.
  13. ^ "Bennett, Peretz, Smotrich agree to joint run without Ben Gvir". Arutz Sheva. 15 January 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2023.
  14. ^ Hoffman, Gil (8 January 2021). ""Post" poll shows mergers capable of bringing down Netanyahu". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 15 October 2023.
  15. ^ "Far-right parties led by Smotrich and Ben Gvir, a Kahane disciple, join forces". The Times of Israel. 3 February 2021. Retrieved 17 October 2023.
  16. ^ Nir Kafri; Alexandra Vardi (6 April 2021). "As anti-gay MKs sworn in, activists fear 'step backwards' on LGBT rights". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  17. ^ "After joint run, Religious Zionism party splits into three factions". The Times of Israel. 20 November 2022. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  18. ^ Hoffman, Gil (20 January 2021). "Bennett's Yamina party formally splits". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 15 October 2023.
  19. ^ "39 parties register for elections; Jewish Home spurns Smotrich, will back Yamina". The Times of Israel. 5 February 2021. Retrieved 16 October 2023.
  20. ^ "למרות מאמצי נתניהו, הבית היהודי תומכת בבנט ולא תתמודד". Ynet. 5 February 2022. Retrieved 15 October 2023.
  21. ^ Keller-Lynn, Carrie (11 September 2022). "Shaked's search for a new political path could lead back to Jewish Home". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  22. ^ Staff writer (11 September 2022). "Zionist Spirit's Shaked and Hendel end their short-lived political partnership". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  23. ^ Baruch, Hezki (13 September 2022). "Shaked signs deal for joint run with Jewish Home". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  24. ^ Baruch, Hezki (14 September 2022). "48 days to the elections: Jewish Home Central Committee approves agreement with Shaked". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  25. ^ Sharon, Jeremy (3 November 2022). "Netanyahu won 8-seat majority over his opponents despite near-parity in raw votes". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 13 October 2023.
  26. ^ "הפתעה בירושלים: מגעים לאיחוד בין אנשי סמוטריץ' לחגית משה". Kipa. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  27. ^ "מרכז הבית היהודי אישר את ההסכם לפירוק המפלגה". Srugim. 20 August 2023. Retrieved 16 October 2023.