Knesset Members Arieh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari are splitting from the National Union and forming a new party, Strong Israel, under the slogan "There are no rights without obligations." Extreme rightist Baruch Marzel was placed third on the new party's roster ahead of the upcoming elections; Aryeh King of the Israel Land Fund, which supports Israeli development in east Jerusalem, was given the fourth slot, while Itamar Ben-Gvir, another extreme-right activist, will fill the fifth spot.
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Eldad announced the establishment of the new party during a press conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday, but said "We cannot talk politics before we discuss south Israel. A million citizens are currently sitting in shelters under the threat of rockets while the government, which can only be defined as insane, continues to supply electricity and water to Gaza. This is one of the things we will try to change as a new faction in the political arena. There is an external terror threat and an internal terror threat in the form of infiltrators."
Strong Israel leaders during press conference
According to Eldad, Strong Israel aims to fill a "vacuum" he claims exists in the rightist political bloc. "(Yisrael Beiteinu head) Avigdor Lieberman has joined (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and will sit with (MK Dan) Meridor in the same party, while Aryeh Deri is dragging Shas to the left, to the Oslo days. Therefore, there is an ideological need to remind people that without obligations there are no rights. The land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel."
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Ben-Ari told the reporters, "We will not join the coalition for jobs or budgets. We will join only in exchange for the implementation of principles that will strengthen Israel."
Eldad addressed claims that his new party promotes intolerance and hatred of others. "A Jewish majority does not constitute hatred for others. We are fighting for the (country's) Jewish character," the rightist lawmaker said.
The National Union issued a statement saying the establishment of the new party "is a day of celebration for the Left due to the loss of tens of thousands of votes and a return to the days of Oslo."