MK (Bayit Yehudi) Yoni Chetboun has already proven that he will not cross a red line, and he paid dearly for it by going against his own party in the efforts to draft chareidim. Despite party leader Naftali Bennett instructing him to support the chareidi draft legislation, he refused and as part of his punishment, he was ousted from his position on the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee.
Defying party leader Bennett once again, Chetboun now refuses to sign a letter seeking to pressure Uri Ariel and his Tekuma faction from not splitting away from Bayit Yehudi. In this case, Chetboun wrote to Bennett “I would love to sign such a letter after the place for Torah values and the rabbonim of the religious Zionists are incorporated in the language”.
The letter in question was sent on motzei Shabbos the eve of 22 Kislev to members of the Tekuma faction of the dati leumi party. The letter is signed by Bennett and Minister Uri Orbach, Deputy Minister Avi Wortzman, faction leader Ayelet Shaked, Nissim Slomiansky, Shul Muallem, Moti Yogev and Deputy Minister Eli Ben-Dahan, who announced he is breaking from Tekuma and running in the Bayit Yehudi primaries. The letter calls on Ariel not to splinter the Zionist camp by breaking from Bayit Yehudi. The only faction member who has not signed is Chetboun, who insists the letter is intended to pressure Ariel to ignore the rabbonim and move ahead with the party to the exclusion of daas Torah.
The letter also points out to Ariel that signing and agreeing permits him and colleagues from Tekuma to receive a guaranteed slot on the Bayit Yehudi lineup without have to compete in the primaries.
The letter concludes this is the one and only offer and there will be no offer since there is no need, because this letter provides Tekuma with a guaranteed slot in Knesset.
Chetboun explains the current version of the letter is obviously intended to remove the rabbonim from the decision-making process and he is unwilling to be a part of such a process. He explains that if and when the letter includes that decision will include daas Torah, he will be pleased to sign as well but the current version is unacceptable.
The Yisrael Hayom daily adds HaGaon HaRav Dov Lior Shlita has instructed Ariel to run independent of Bayit Yehudi.
Some feel that Chetboun may be on the way out of Bayit Yehudi and will form a party with Ariel and Eli Yishai, who appears to be moving away from Shas.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)