Jewish Home has decided against an open primary for all members of parties on the religious right, the party said Monday. In an official statement, the party said that “although we see primaries as a proper idea in principle, we do not believe it to be appropriate at this time, as it will change the structure of the main Religious Zionist party. Ensuring that the party remain in its current form is necessary for several reasons, including the fact that the New Right is not part of this process, and that voters might be concerned over changes.”
Transportation Minister Betzalel Smotrich and Jewish Home MK Moti Yogev advocated for the primary after thousands signed petitions demanding one, and on the background of the poor showing of Religious Zionist parties in the April election. The primary opponent is said to be Rabbi Rafi Peretz, chairman of Jewish Home. Three parties ran separately under the banner of the religious right – possibly four, if Zehut is included – and all but one did not make the electoral threshold.
It is now unclear if the National Union will run by itself, and Jewish Home called on the party – which is led by Smotrich – to “return to the negotiating table and discuss a joint run based on our current agreement. Jewish Home will run in the next election advocating the same values we have throughout. We will do our best to connect to other parties that will provide the right kind of relationships and to ensure that the right remains in power,” the party said.