The Jewish Home

This article is about the political party. For the concept of a Jewish homeland, see Homeland for the Jewish people.
The Jewish Home
Hebrew: הבית היהודי
Leader Daniel Hershkowitz
Naftali Bennett
Founded 2008 (2008)
Preceded by National Religious Party
Headquarters Jerusalem
Ideology Religious Zionism
Modern Orthodox interests[1]
Economic liberalism
Political position Right-wing to Far-right [2][3]
Religion Modern Orthodox Judaism (core constituency)[4]
International affiliation None
Colours           Blue, green
8 / 120
Most MKs 12 (2013)
Election symbol

The Jewish Home (Hebrew: הַבַּיִת הַיְהוּדִי, HaBayit HaYehudi) is an Orthodox Jewish, religious Zionist political party in Israel,[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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,[9] while Eitam was also unhappy that the new party would not hold primaries.[10]

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".[11]

Ya'akov Amidror was chosen to head a public committee formed to choose the party's list for the 2009 elections.[8] On 8 December 2008 Rabbi Professor Daniel Hershkovitz, a mathematician from the Technion, was chosen to head the new party.[12]

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.[13] This left Jewish Home as little more than a renamed NRP: The Jewish Home, the new National Religious Party. In the 2009 election, the party won three seats.[14]

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 had 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.[15]


The party primarily represents Modern Orthodox Jews,[4] who tend to be more nationalist in Israel. For many years, this community has been politically fractured and weak.[16] 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.[4] The attention that Bennett received also apparently had an effect on Likud's 2013 election strategy, pushing it to the right.[16] 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 the 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.[17] 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 and offer citizenship to the Palestinians living there.[4][18][19] Their alliance ended during their time as coalition partners, before the Israeli legislative election, 2015.

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] Despite this, in a 2016 poll 57% of Jewish Home voters said they back same-sex marriage.[22]

Knesset members

Knesset Years MKs Members
172006–20095Uri Ariel, Eliyahu Gabai, Zvi Hendel, Zevulun Orlev, Nissan Slomiansky
182009–20133Daniel Hershkowitz, Uri Orbach, Zevulun Orlev
192013–201512Naftali 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)
202015–8Naftali Bennett, Uri Ariel, Ayelet Shaked, Eli Ben-Dahan, Nissan Slomiansky, Yinon Magal(resigned in 2015), Moti Yogev, Bezalel Smotrich, Shuli Mualem(from October 2015)
The Jewish Home election poster: "Something new begins", 2013


  1. 1 2 "Key parties in incoming Israeli parliament". Associated Press. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  2. J. J. Goldberg (21 December 2014). "Israeli Politics Enters Silly Season as Elections Loom". The Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 28 June 2015. [Yishai] planned to join forces with settler leader Uri Ariel, head of the far-right faction in Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home party.
  3. Ben Birnbaum (18 March 2015). "Benjamin Netanyahu Will Not Win Another Election". The New Republic. Retrieved 28 June 2015. The bump came mostly at the expense of hard-right Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett, who earlier in the campaign had been polling just behind Netanyahu.
  4. 1 2 3 4 "A look at the makeup of the new Israeli government". Associated Press. 14 March 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  5. Jodi Rudoren (22 January 2013). "Tepid Vote for Netanyahu in Israel Is Seen as Rebuke". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
  6. Abe Selig (18 December 2008). "Moledet breaks from newly formed Bayit Hayehudi". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  7. "Moledet Strengthens Unity in Religious Camp". Arutz Sheva. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  8. 1 2 Amnon Meranda (3 November 2008). "Right-wing parties unite". Ynetnews. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  9. Hillel Fendel (19 November 2008). "Petition: Include Eldad and Marzel in New Religious Party". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  10. Attila Somfalvi (3 November 2008). "Eitam wants to join Likud". Ynetnews. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  11. "New Nationalist Party Named 'The Jewish Home'". Arutz Sheva. 19 November 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2015..
  12. Matthew Wagner (9 December 2008). "Habayit Hayehudi opts for Hershkowitz". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  13. Matthew Wagner (25 December 2008). "National Union splits from Habayit Hayehudi". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  14. "Israel Elections 2009 Results". Israel National News. 10 February 2009. Archived from the original on 11 February 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  15. Lazar Berman (18 December 2013). "Lapid, Bennett at odds again over gay benefits bill". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  16. 1 2 Jodi Rudoren (27 December 2012). "Dynamic Former Netanyahu Aide Shifts Israeli Campaign Rightward". The New York Times. p. A12. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  17. Aron Heller (Mar 12, 2013). "Israel's ultra-Orthodox suddenly are outsiders". Associated Press. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  18. Naftali Bennett (7 November 2014). "For Israel, Two-State Is No Solution". The New York Times. p. A31. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  19. Naftali Bennett (20 May 2014). "A New Plan for Peace in Palestine". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 15 June 2015.(subscription required)
  20. "What do Habayit Hayehudi candidates think about same-sex marriage?". Haaretz. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  21. Or Wolman (28 January 2015). "Lapid: The Bayit Ha-Yehudi is a homophobic party". Jerusalem Online. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
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