Bookstore Glossary Library Links News Publications Timeline Virtual Israel Experience
Anti-Semitism Biography History Holocaust Israel Israel Education Myths & Facts Politics Religion Travel US & Israel Vital Stats Women
donate subscribe Contact About Home

Israel Political Parties: The Jewish Home

The Jewish Home ("HaBayit HaYehudi," in Hebrew) is a religious, Zionist political party in Israel. It is currently led by Naftali Bennett.

Originally established in November 2008, prior to elections for the 18th Knesset, the Jewish Home was a coalition of a number of right-wing national religious parties including Moledet, the National Religious Party and Tkuma. However, the different factions vehemently disputed the positions allocated to their candidates on the electoral list and eventually the Moledet party and some members of Tkuma split off from the coaltion and re-form the National Union party with another rightist faction, Hatikva. Before the January 2013 elections, however, new party leader Naftali Bennett re-merged the Jewish Home with National Union.

The basic party platform of the Jewish Home says the party is opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and states that Jerusalem “is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and the state of Israel solely, and will not be divided.” The party’s platform also says that the settlements in the West Bank are important for Israel’s security, should not be uprooted in the future and should remain under Israel’s sovereignty.

The Jewish Home states that it supports the privatization of government companies and will also demand to reduce manpower in the public sector. The party seeks to reduce taxes that it says hold back economic growth and encourage tax relief for productive sectors of the economy. The party also supports tax relief for large families and seeks to pass legislation on this issue.

In terms of religious life in Israel, the Jewish Home says that it will “fight for the Jewish identity of the state on every level: culture, character, personal status, society and legislation, as a Jewish and democratic state.” Regarding issues such as civil marriage, The Jewish Home says that it will act to strengthen the current status quo, which does not permit civil marriage but will also seek alternative solutions for this “sensitive” issue.

In the 2009 elections, the Jewish Home, under the leadership of Daniel Hershkowitz, won three seats in the Knesset. Following the reshuffling of its coalition partners, the party strengthened itself before elections for the 19th Knesset, and in January 2013 it won 11 seats in Knesset and becoming the fifth largest political party in Israel.

The primary elections for The Jewish Home Party took place on January 14, 2015.  Party leader Naftali Bennett was easily re-elected and agreed to include candidates from the Tkuma political party in their party list, as they did in 2013.  Bennett assigned the Tkuma candidates the 2nd, 9th, 14th, and 18th spots on the list. 

The party was stained by controversy in the lead-up to the 2015 elections.  An article questioning HaBayit HaYehudi's leader Naftali Bennett's involvement in the deaths of 102 Lebanese civilians during Operation Grapes of Wrath was released in early January, but this development was soon overshadowed when the next week the party released a campaign video featuring the candidates discussing their negative views on gay marriage and equality. Lastly, members from within Bennett's own party were furious when he reserved the coveted number ten spot on his party list for Sephardic Israeli soccer star Eli Ohana.  Party member Ayelet Shaked defended Bennett's decision, claiming that he "wanted to bring in a traditional Sephardi person, who had a difficult childhood and succeeded.  I am told he is very intelligent." 

The Jewish Home party placed sixth in the 2015 election, and received eight seats in the 20th Knesset.

Sources: The Israel Project; Wikipedia; Times of Israel; Haaretz, February 5, 2015.