- National Union (Israel)
Leader Ya'akov Katz Founded 1999 Headquarters Jerusalem, Israel Ideology Religious Zionism,
Land of Israel,
Official colours Orange (and blue and white) Knesset Website www.leumi.org.il Politics of Israel
The National Union (Hebrew: האיחוד הלאומי, HaIhud HaLeumi) is an alliance of nationalist political parties in Israel. In the 2009 elections the National Union consisted of four parties: Moledet, Hatikva, Eretz Yisrael Shelanu, and Tkuma.
The National Union was formed in 1999 to contest the elections of that year as an alliance between Moledet, Tkuma and Herut – The National Movement, winning four seats. In 2001 the party's support was almost doubled by the addition of the predominantly Russian-immigrant party, Yisrael Beiteinu.
After Ariel Sharon won the 2001 Prime Ministerial elections, National Union was brought into the National Unity Government and party leader Rehavam Zeevi was appointed Minister of Tourism, with Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman becoming Minister of National Infrastructure. When Zeevi was assassinated on 17 October 2001, Binyamin Elon of Moledet took his ministerial position, and Lieberman became head of the National Union.
Herut ran independently in the 2003 elections and did not pass the barrier. The National Union party won seven seats and was included in Ariel Sharon's coalition alongside Likud, Shinui, the National Religious Party and Yisrael BaAliyah. Elon and Lieberman were appointed Minister of Tourism and Minister of Transportation respectively.
The National Union opposed the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Sharon sacked ministers Elon and Lieberman, and the National Union left the coalition (Elon attempted to avoid sacking by going into hiding, but ultimately failed).
However, the National Union was then bolstered by the addition of the Renewed Religious National Zionist Party (later renamed Ahi), which had been formed by NRP dissidents opposed to the Gaza withdrawal after the NRP had decided to remain in the coalition. After withdrawal, the National Union adopted orange as its symbol, the color having been used by anti-disengagement protesters.
In 2005 Yisrael Beiteinu left the National Union to run independently in the 2006 elections. At the last minute the National Religious Party decided to form a joint list with National Union called National Union - NRP. The combined list adopted more social policies and won the support of the chief rabbis of the Religious Zionism (such as Rabbi Abraham Shapira), and the Union of Handicapped (thanks to the NRP's pro-handicapped legislation). The joint list used the slogan New Right Rising (Hebrew: ימין חדש עולה, Yamin Hadash Oleh) and won nine seats, of which the National Union took six.
In 2008, in anticipation of the 2009 elections, the National Union and NRP formally unified into a single party, called the Jewish Home. This was intended to unify their political sector and present the public with a new face for the religious Zionist movement. The Jewish Home was to be a single party, rather than a list of separate parties, each with its own agenda and independent leadership. Professor Daniel Hershkovitz was picked to head the newly formed party. However, MK Aryeh Eldad left to form his own list, Hatikva, while MKs Effi Eitam and Yitzhak Levy (formerly of Ahi) re-established Ahi, which later merged into Likud. When the Jewish Home announced its candidate list for the elections, five of the top six slots went to ex-NRP members, with only MK Uri Ariel, formerly of Tkuma, in the top six.
The remaining ex-Moledet members broke off, re-established their party, and allied with MK Eldad's Hatikva, reviving the National Union name. Elon stated that he would not seek reelection and American immigrant Uri Bank took his place on the Jewish Home list. The split from Jewish Home grew, and polls indicated Hatikva could win three seats. Eretz Yisrael Shelanu also joined the National Union, with member Michael Ben-Ari given fourth spot on the alliance's list. While these issues were being negotiated, Uri Ariel also left Jewish Home and rejoined the National Union list, leaving Jewish Home as little more than a renamed NRP.
The party has a joint platform, and in particular it supports the settlement of all the Land of Israel, advocates the use of more military power in the war on terror and harsher measures against Palestinian terrorism. It rejects all current Oslo-based peace efforts — which it sees as dangerous to Israel and rejects the notion of a Palestinian state. The party instead advocates cantons of self rule for the Arabs in the West Bank whose leadership would be local and not imported. It is heavily molded by the doctrine of Ya'akov Katz and Rabbi Benny Elon, the former leader of Moledet. It also supports a Torah-constituted multi-ethnic, multi-diverse theonomic democratic Jewish State under the banner of the Israeli Flag.
The party believes aliyah is critical for sustaining and strengthening Israel and is at the core of the Zionism. It wants to encourage aliyah and facilitate the absorption of olim. The party believes the State of Israel should support Jewish education in order to strengthen relations with the Jewish diaspora, while the Diaspora should encourage aliyah. The party wants to take full advantage of the potential in aliyah from around the world and specifically the aliyah from Western nations and the former Soviet Union. It supports continuing government and Jewish Agency programs that encourage aliyah from France, Argentina and South Africa. Further, it wants to create long-term programs to help integrate Ethiopian Jewish immigrants better. It also wants to involve immigrants in developing such programs. The party wants more Jewish education for prospective immigrants to help preserve the Jewish nature of Israel. Finally, the party wants to assist Jewish converts in moving to Israel.
The party supports environmental preservation and wants to plant forests in the desert regions of Israel. It supports the preservation of water bodies and wants a zero tolerance policy against illegal dumping of hazardous industrial materials, toxic chemicals, and sewage. The party wants to secure the water resources of Israel and ensure that there are no foreign hostile disruptions. The party supports greater efficiency in the use of rainfall and the establishment of desalinization facilities. The party supports strong enforcement standards against polluters in order to raise the air quality in Israel. The party supports new building and zoning standards in densely populated areas that will "maximize space, protect the environment, increase efficiency and allow for state-of-the-art transit applications."
The party believes foreign policy should focus on safeguarding the State of Israel’s sovereignty while seeking peace with Arab countries based on the principle of “peace for peace”. In addition, they want to build and nurture positive relationships with the peoples and governments of other countries without relinquishing Israel’s security interests, freedom of action, and complete national independence. The party supports a strong alliance with the United States, but wants to decrease dependence on American financial aid, eventually ending it completely. The party wants to strengthen Israeli ties with African, Asian and European nations and to further its political and economic interests in both the East and West. Further, the party wants to convince more countries to support and cooperate with Israel, especially Russia, the former Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe. The party condemns the Arab boycott and wants it denounced in the international arena, with sanctions imposed on countries that support it.
The party believes that Israeli citizens are entitled to the best possible healthcare at the lowest possible cost. The party supports regulating the placement cell phone towers to ensure the health of Israelis.
The party supports a united Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people in the State of Israel. It wants uninterrupted Jewish building in all parts of Jerusalem to ensure the unity of the Israeli capital and the transfer to Jerusalem of all government offices, institutions, and public organizations and permitting diplomatic offices only in Jerusalem, rather than Tel Aviv where embassies are presently located. In addition, the party seeks guarantees of open access to the holy places to all religions, in particular the right of every Jew to pray on the Temple Mount. Further, the party wants more to be done about illegal construction by Arabs in Jerusalem and surrounding areas.
Judaism and Torah
The party wants to require that all political parties recognize that Israel is the state of the Jewish people. The party wants to safeguard Jewish character of the State by intensifying the study of the heritage of the Jewish people and its history. The party wants religious laws to be determined by wide consensus, rather than patronage. The party views service in the Israel Defence Forces or National Service as crucial for the State and believes that the study of Torah is necessary to preserve the heritage of the Jewish people. The party will encourage the establishment of combined security/military service and Torah study such as the Hesder Yeshivas and the Nahal Haredi units.
Law and order
The party opposes an Israeli constitution until there is a satisfactory balance of power between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. The party supports legislation that will curb Supreme Court authority over the Knesset. The party supports changing the selection method of Supreme Court judges to have a more democratic character. The party will support appointment of more judges with varying worldviews, representing the diversity of Israeli society. The party will introduce legislation according to the Hebrew judicial spirit and will work to promote including such values in the Israeli judicial system.
"The party supports the fair and inclusive representation of all cultural views and ideologies on the state-run television and radio outlets...and will work toward giving a voice to the many diverse opinions and streams in Israeli society while preserving a general feeling of fairness, mutual respect, freedom of expression and balance. The party will strive to insert fair competition in the media sector and prevent the establishment of journalistic monopolies and conflicts of interest."
The party wants to rebalance power in favor of the Knesset over the Supreme Court of Israel. The party supports fairness and credibility in a clean administration and aspires to be an example of truth, humility, and personal and public integrity. The party will work to prevent moral corruption in Israeli public life by ensuring improved transparency and preventing conflicts of interest among elected officials.
Security and defense
The party supports a solution for peace that involves defense and diplomacy. It believes the unending war environment weakens Israel in the consciousness of its citizens, ruins its economy, and encourages its Arab citizens towards hostility. Further, it believes that the right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel is inseparably intertwined with their right to peace and security. Because of the constant and consistent Arab violations of the Oslo Accords, Wye River Memorandum, and Hebron agreements, after the failure of the Camp David Accord, the lives lost in the Oslo War and the Second Lebanon war, and after the rise of Hamas to power in the Palestinian Authority, the party wants to declare all agreements with the PA as null and void. In addition, it wants to end peace agreements with all of its neighbors, but not at the price of security. The party wants to solidify the national camp around a realistic regional peace plan. The party condemns the Gaza disengagement plan and opposes further uprooting of Jewish communities and surrender of parts of the Land of Israel in any future Israeli government with the party.
Settlements in Judea and Samaria
The party considers settling the land to be an expression of the fulfillment of Zionism and insists on the right of Jews to settle in all parts of the Land of Israel. It ensures a Jewish "hold on the land, contributes to the distribution of the population, and accomplishes the social revolution of the Jewish people that ties it to its homeland and makes it productive." The party supports settling land for security, economics, and social wellbeing, and supports creating a parliamentary settlement committee to expand settlements in sparsely settled regions of the country. The part wants responsibility for settlements to be transferred from the Defense Ministry to the local councils. The party wants to promote Jewish labor in agriculture. Residents in developing towns should have their educational systems and economic enterprises enhanced to improve their standard of living, making them more attractive to potential new residents, the younger generation, and those who grew up there.
The party supports establishing more rail transportation to reduce automobile traffic and pollution in large cities.
After the 2009 elections:
- Ya'akov Katz - Moledet
- Aryeh Eldad - HaTikva
- Uri Ariel - Tkuma
- Michael Ben-Ari - Eretz Yisrael Shelanu
Parliamentary political parties in Israel
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