Eli Yishai, chairperson of Yachad – Ha'am Itanu, marked Gush Katif Day marking ten years since the expulsion of all Jews from Gaza on Wednesday by pledging not to stay in any coalition that even discusses the possibility of expelling Jews from their homes.
"The expulsion from Gush Katif is a bleeding wound in the heart of Israeli society," said Yishai. "The government of Israel expelled over 8,000 citizens from their homes. This was an anti-Israeli, anti-security and anti-social act."
Yishai vowed "the Yachad party, which raises the banner of guarding the nation and the land, will not be a partner to a government that expels Jews, and will oppose any step that will advance an expulsion of Jews from their homes."
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Yishai said the danger of an expulsion occurring again remains a clear and present danger, and noted that a candidate on the Likud list even recently spoke about the possibility of dividing Jerusalem. He added that his party formed a joint list with Otzma Yehudit, putting Baruch Marzel fourth on the list, to ensure there wouldn't be a loss of right-wing votes and to defend from expulsions.
"Political abstention from national processes (peace process – ed.) is a silent agreement; we won't be silent," promised the party head.
Yishai also had harsh words for the political left led by the "Zionist camp" Labor and Hatnua joint list, saying "the Israeli left, that still hasn't sobered up from Oslo and the expulsion of Gush Katif, continues to act like an ostrich (with its head in the ground – ed.)."
If Labor's plans to divide Jerusalem and give up massive portions of Israel's Biblical heartland in Judea and Samaria "are realized G-d forbid – Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion International Airport and Herzliya will be under a barrage of rockets, and they will dig tunnels to Kfar Saba and Ra'anana," he said, noting locations in the central coastal region.
"The Yachad party obligates itself to oppose any initiative seeking to advance the loss of the state of Israel," Yishai emphasized.
Yishai has said that as a condition for joining the coalition he will demand the interior minister post, a post he has held in the past. He told Arutz Sheva that as interior minister he will make efforts to help integrate the Jews expelled from Gush Katif, many of whom still suffer from unemployment and live in temporary housing.
Future with Otzma Yehudit
Speaking about the union with Otzma Yehudit, Yishai remarked that he hopes Marzel will stay in the party even after it joins a coalition, although the two currently are set to split after elections, given that they ran on a technical bloc and Otzma Yehudit opposes joining a coalition that doesn't have unshakable ideological red lines.
"I really hope he stays in the coalition but if he decides not to stay in the coalition, there's no doubt that will be coordinated," said Yishai. "Against anti-religious laws he will stand with us and also on social issues, the issues sensitive to the people of Israel and the world of the Torah and the land of Israel."
Yishai added that Marzel "apparently will decide not to enter the coalition. That will be his consideration, but we will be happy to continue cooperating for the society, the Torah and the land."
Otzma Yehudit has made clear it will not sit in a coalition that frees terrorists, freezes Jewish construction, holds peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and lets Hamas survive another war in Gaza – all of which the current coalition did.
The former Shas spokesperson added that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef z''tl was supportive of Marzel, noting that Marzel "fought at the time against the people who protested against Maran (Rabbi Yosef)."
According to Yishai, Rabbi Ovadia even quoted the Torah verse on the mitzvot (commandments), "and you will speak of them (bam in Hebrew – ed.)," and noted bam as being an abbreviation for Baruch Marzel.
Regarding the election campaign, Yishai clarified that there are no contacts between his party and others, saying the elections are both complicated and clear.
"Everyone who wants to be in the nationalist camp says things clearly and in advance without stuttering. Those who don't, and want to be with the left, mumble or prefer not to talk about things. We need to preserve the nationalist camp and I'm happy that people are joining me on this," said Yishai.