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Photo: Gabby Menashe
Party Chairman Benny Elon
Photo: Gabby Menashe
National Union-National Religious Party (NU-NRP)

Chairman: Benny Elon

 

The National Religious Party and the National Union decided to merge in February of 2006.

 

The National Union was formed in 1999 by Rehavam Ze'evi as a merger of several right-wing groups. Following Ariel Sharon's 2001 elections victory, the party joined the government, but decided to quit a day before Ze'evi was murdered by Palestinian terrorists at a Jerusalem hotel.

 

In 2003, the party won seven Knesset seats. In 2005, Yisrael Beiteinu which was part of the National Union announced it was breaking from the party running separately upcoming elections. In its place, several Knesset members who quit the National Religious Party joined in, headed by Effie Eitam. Later, the National Religious Party itself also merged with the National Union.

 

The NRP was formed in 1956 after two religious parties united. The party was part of almost every Mapai-led government and acted to maintain the status quo in matters of religion and state.

 

This partnership guaranteed the Interior and Religious Affairs Ministries remained in NRP's hands in almost all governments, thus turning it into the most influential religious force in Israel for many years.

 

After the 1967 war, the party adopted a position objecting to withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank, a stance that was boosted later on. The new position drew the party away from Labor and closer to Likud. In 1977, the NRP dismantled what was referred to as the "historic alliance" with Labor and joined the Likud-led government, proceeding to be a part of all governments until 1992.

 

However, the party began a process of decline, and in the 2003 elections won six Knesset seats. The party joined the Sharon government, but quit over the implementation of the disengagement plan.

 

The two parties ran together in the 2006 general elections, winning nine Knesset seats.

 

Main platform:

Though no new, joint platform, has been issued since the two parties joined forces, both share the same several key points:

 

  • Israel is the Jewish people's state. The parties will fight to preserve Israel's Jewish character and the implementation of the vision of the Jewish people returning to their homeland, through the three major principles of Zionism: Aliyah, staying true to the principles of Judaism and maintaining the settlement mission.

 

  • Jerusalem is and will remain the eternal capital of Israel and the Jewish people and thus will remain united. The parties will work to ensure everyone has access to the city's holy sites, including the Jewish right to pray at the Temple Mount.

 

  • The parties will push for the formation of a Constitution Court, authorized to rule on issues of ideology and value subject to public dispute.

 

  • The parties will push for an amendment in the Law of Return, broadening its definitions and allowances.

 

  • Both parties believe serving in the IDF is a curtail need and will work to have the burden carried equally between all Israeli citizens.

 

  • The parties will not recognize the Palestinian Authority, will fight for annulling the Oslo accords and will support peace in exchange for peace only.