Eli Yishai  is wooing the Chardal, a section of the Dati Leumi that has suffered serious disillusionment in the past.

Polls have him struggling to achieve the minimum votes required for the Knesset. This could be the makings of a catastrophe, but it could also be rebirth, creating something new that the religious Israeli voter sorely needs.
MKs Eli Yishai and Yoni Chetboun (‘Yachad-Ha’am Itanu, Together – the nation is with us) visited a number of settlements in the Shomron, where they met with residents of the community of Har Bracha, adjacent to Shechem. During the tour, the two met with the Rav of Elon Moreh, Rav Elayakim Levanon.

During the meeting with the residents, party chairman Eli Yishai (formerly Shas) said, “We set up our political party to strengthen the Torah world in this country, to avoid Oslo part 3, to take care of the disadvantaged. Without apologizing. Bayit Haayehudi and Naftali Bennett say they do not apologize for anything. This is untrue. They apologize for the Torah “.

MK Yoni Chetboun, also spoke to residents saying, “Yachad is the commando unit of the country’s Jewish identity. We will be the government’s Jewish flak jacket, without apologizing. Whoever apologizes for the Torah, in the end apologizes also to the Land of Israel. We unified the Charedim and the national religious (Dati Leumi), the traditional and the secular, because we have a responsibility for the fate of the Jewish state. In the coming weeks we will present our list, a winning team that does not running away from responsibility “.

Yonatan ‘Yoni’ Chetboun is a member of the Eli Yishai’s HaAm Itanu party. He was a member of the Jewish Home party and placed 11th on its list for the 19th Knesset. He quit the party over ideological differences. He was a Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, and sat on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the 19th Knesset. He defied direct orders by Naftali Bennett and voted against the bill that criminalized Charedim learning torah full time instead of enlisting in the army. On 14 December 2014, he quit the Jewish Home party because of ideological differences with the party, and immediately joined Eli Yishai’s HaAm Itanu party. He stressed his belief in the fact that the new party could bring “Achdut” (Unity) between all the religious sectors in Israel. He is married with 7 children.

Since the establishment of the party, Yishai and Chetboun having been working hard to recruit the support of senior religious Zionist rabbis, the focus being mainly on the rabbis affiliated with the Chardal rather than the national religious public. Chardal is an acronym for Charedi-Dati-Leumi, meaning religious Zionists who associate more closely with the Charedi beliefs than with the secular Zionist establishment. This sector of the Israeli Dati Leumi has grown considerably since the expulsion from Gush Kati, which many of the Dati Leumi saw as a stab in the back from the secular Zionists, who they had until then seen as allies and brothers-in-arms.

Although it remains unclear whether the rabbis of Tkuma will transfer the support of Uri Ariel’s party to Eli Yishai and Yoni Chetboun’s party, in the meantime religious Zionist rabbis continue to join this newly formed party.

A few days ago, during a celebration held for the Rav Matzliach Mazuz, the father of the party’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Meir Mazuz, there was a sudden growth in the support of the party. Rabbi Yigal Kaminsky, the former head rabbi of Gush Katif, and Rabbi Shimon Cohen, a prominent religious Zionist rabbi from the South of Israel, have expressed their support for the party and the vision of unity between the different segments of Israeli religious society.

Rabbi Meir Mazuz has replaced Rav Ovadia Yosef as Eli Yishai’s political spiritual leader. They are working very hard at attracting Rabbis from Tkuma who have become disenfranchised from Bayit Hayehudi and Nafatali Bennet. Some of his views and psak halachot are as follows.

• He does not, at this point, want women on the party list

• He wants the party to attract Chabad and Chardal voters

• Torah study spared Sephardic Jews from the Holocaust

• Soldiers should refuse orders to evacuate settlements

• Jewish law commands that one must comply with state laws including income tax laws but that in the case of students studding Jewish law in religious academies, tax evasion could be permitted

• It is legal for a Jew to go up to temple Mount

• He was actively opposed to the Gush Katif deportations, including adding his name to the list of rabbis who at the time called on IDF soldiers to refuse an order to evacuate