Yamina Founder Moalem-Refaeli Joins Likud

YERUSHALAYIM -

Elections are off the table for the time being, but politics goes on.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday that the Likud has captured for its ranks Shuli Moalem-Refaeli, one of the founders of the Yamina party along with Naftali Bennett and Ayalet Shaked, and a leading figure in the national-religious camp.

“I am very happy that Moalem-Refaeli, the former Knesset member and one of the most important activists in religious Zionism, is joining Likud. The Likud is the natural home of religious Zionism,” Netanyahu said in a statement released by the party.

Moalem-Refaeli agreed, in her own statement on Wednesday:

“The Likud is the natural home of religious Zionism and the ideological right. When the people of Israel are worried about the economic and health crises, there is still so much work to do to fix the world and bring Israel into its rightful place, and the place to do that is in the Likud,” she said.

Yamina has been surging in recent polls as Likud has slipped, and the acquisition of Moalem-Refaeli should help to shift votes back to Likud from Yamina, which vie for much of the same constituency.

Moalem-Refaeli is a mother of seven from Neve Daniel, in Gush Etzion, south of Yerushalayim.

After entering the Knesset with Jewish Home in 2013, she introduced legislation to legalize outpost communities in Yehuda and Shomron.

Moalem-Refaeli was prominent in the IDF’s Widows and Orphans Organization before going into politics. She joined the organization shortly after losing her husband, Lt.-Col. Moshe Moalem, in a 1997 helicopter disaster, in which 73 IDF soldiers were killed when two army helicopters collided in the air on their way to Lebanon.