The Jewish Home

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This article is about the political party. For the concept of a Jewish homeland, see Homeland for the Jewish people
The Jewish Home
Leader Naftali Bennett
Founded 2008 (2008)
Preceded by National Religious Party
Headquarters Jerusalem, Israel
Ideology Religious Zionism
Modern Orthodox interests[1]
Political position Right-wing[2] to Far-right[3][4]
Religion Modern Orthodox Judaism (core constituency)[5]
Colours Blue, Green and Orange
8 / 120
Election symbol
Politics of Israel
Political parties

The Jewish Home (Hebrew: הַבַּיִת הַיְהוּדִי, HaBayit HaYehudi) is a religious Zionist political party in Israel[6] formed as the successor party to the National Religious Party.

It was originally formed by a merger of the National Religious Party, Moledet and Tkuma in November 2008. However, after its top representative was placed 17th on the new party's list, Moledet broke away from the party, and instead ran on a joint list with Hatikva called the National Union.[7] Tkuma also rejoined the National Union whereas the Ahi faction have joined Likud.

For the 19th Knesset Elections, The Jewish Home and Tkuma parties merged their lists under the leadership of the chairman of The Jewish Home, Naftali Bennett; Uri Bank and his Moledet party supported the merger.[8] The other National Union members formed the Otzma LeYisrael party. The party has ministers in the cabinet of Israel.


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.[9] 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 religious one,[10] while Eitam was also unhappy that the new party would not hold primaries.[11]

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".[12]

Ya'akov Amidror was chosen to head a public committee formed to choose the party's list for the 2009 elections.[9] On 8 December 2008 Rabbi Professor Daniel Hershkovitz, a mathematician from the Technion, was chosen to head the new party.[13]

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 reelection 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.[14] This left Jewish Home as little more than a renamed NRP: The Jewish Home, the new National Religious Party.

In the 2009 election, Jewish Home won three seats.[15]

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 reunited 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 has the right to veto any laws that change the fragile 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.[16]


The party's members adhere to the belief that Jews are divinely commanded to retain control over the Land of Israel.[citation needed] Many members have taken the lead in establishing Israeli settlements,[5] making it nearly impossible for the party to join a coalition led by the center-left political bloc.[17]

The party primarily represents Modern Orthodox Jews,[5] who tend to be more nationalist in Israel. For many years, this community has been politically fractured and weak.[18] In the 2013 elections, the party was led by Naftali Bennett, a charismatic high-tech millionaire, who appealed to both religious and secular Israelis.[1] The party's pro-settlement message and Bennett's personal appeal helped it increase popularity among a broader segment of the population.[5] The attention that Bennett received also apparently had an effect on Likud's 2013 election strategy, pushing it to the right.[18] Along with Yesh Atid, the Jewish Home surged in popularity by promising to end the controversial system of draft exemptions given to ultra-Orthodox seminary students, and to "ease the burden" on middle class Israelis who serve in the military, work and pay taxes. These two parties became two largest coalition parties in Prime Minister Netanyahu's government, and leaders of both parties were able to force Netanyahu to promise that the ultra-Orthodox political parties will not be in the new coalition.[19] Despite Bennett's alliance with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid on many domestic issues, the two differ sharply over peace efforts and settlement building. Bennett is opposed to concessions to the Palestinians and has called for Israel to annex Area C of the West Bank.[5][18]

Most of the party's candidates for the 2015 elections are opposed to same-sex marriage.[20] Some of the remarks made by its candidates have been called homophobic by Yair Lapid; Zehava Gal-On and Mickey Rosenthal also criticized the comments.[21]

Knesset members[edit]

Knesset Years MKs Members
17 2006–2009 5 Uri Ariel, Eliyahu Gabai, Zvi Hendel, Zevulun Orlev, Nissan Slomiansky
18 2009–2013 3 Daniel Hershkowitz, Uri Orbach, Zevulun Orlev
19 2013–2015 12 Naftali Bennett, Uri Ariel, Nissan Slomiansky, Eli Ben-Dahan, Ayelet Shaked, Uri Orbach(died in office), Zvulun Kalfa, Avi Wortzman, Moti Yogev, Orit Strook, Yoni Chetboun, Shuli Mualem, Hillel Horowitz(from 2/16/15)
20 2015– 8 Naftali Bennett, Uri Ariel, Nissan Slomiansky, Eli Ben-Dahan, Ayelet Shaked, Zvulun Kalfa, Avi Wortzman, Moti Yogev(This list is not confirmed)
The Jewish Home election poster: "Something new begins", 2013


  1. ^ a b "Key parties in incoming Israeli parliament". Associated Press. Jan 24, 2013. 
  2. ^ "21 Knesset seats still up for grabs". Ynet. 13 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Pollard, Ruth (10 January 2013). "Far right spells danger for Netanyahu". The Age. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Meo, Nick (19 January 2013). "Israel's new political star Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home party determined to stop Palestinian state". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "A look at the makeup of the new Israeli government". Associated Press. March 14, 2013. 
  6. ^ Jodi Rudoren (January 22, 2013). "Tepid Vote for Netanyahu in Israel Is Seen as Rebuke". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-10. 
  7. ^ Selig, Abe (18 December 2008). "Moledet breaks from newly formed Bayit Hayehudi". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  8. ^ "Moledet Strengthens Unity in Religious Camp". Israelnationalnews. 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Right-wing parties unite Ynetnews, 3 November 2008
  10. ^ Petition: Include Eldad and Marzel in New Religious Party Israel National News, 19 November 2008
  11. ^ Eitam wants to join Likud Ynetnews, 3 November 2008
  12. ^ "New Nationalist Party Named 'The Jewish Home", Israel National News, 19 November 2008 .
  13. ^ Wagner, Matthew (9 December 2008). "Habayit Hayehudi opts for Hershkowitz". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  14. ^ Wagner, Matthew (25 December 2008). "National Union splits from Habayit Hayehudi". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  15. ^ "Israel National News". Israel National News. 10 February 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  16. ^ Lazar Berman (December 18, 2013). "Lapid, Bennett at odds again over gay benefits bill". Times of Israel. 
  17. ^ Baskin, Judith Reesa, ed. (2010). The Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish Culture. Cambridge University Press. p. 304. 
  18. ^ a b c Jodi Rudoren (January 20, 2013). "Dynamic Former Netanyahu Aide Shifts Israeli Campaign Rightward". New York Times. 
  19. ^ Aron Heller (Mar 12, 2013). "Israel's ultra-Orthodox suddenly are outsiders". Associated Press. 
  20. ^ "What do Habayit Hayehudi candidates think about same-sex marriage?". Haaretz. Jan 8, 2015. 
  21. ^ Or Wolman (Jan 28, 2015). "Lapid: The Bayit Ha-Yehudi is a homophobic party". Jerusalem Online. 

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