Over a thousand supporters gathered on Tuesday evening for an elections conference of Eli Yishai's Yachad – Ha'am Itanu party in Jerusalem, in which Otzma Yehudit's rabbinical council Rabbi Dov Lior, chief rabbi of Hevron – Kiryat Arba, took part for the first time.
Yishai's rabbinical adviser Rabbi Meir Mazuz also was in attendance, and said "they ask me, what's unique about this movement? I was just now in the Gush Katif Museum, it's impossible to see that. How is it possible? We need to guard the land of Israel."
The rabbi's comments come after members of the party vowed earlier on Tuesday that they would demand the government adopt the 2012 Levy Report, halting demolitions of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria and recognizing its legal nature.
Rabbi Mazuz also welcomed that on Tuesday the influential Sephardic rabbi Rabbi Yoram Abergel had announced his support of Ha'am Itanu, after previously supporting Shas. In doing so he became the latest in a series of haredi and religious Zionist rabbis to shift their support from Shas and Jewish Home to Yishai's party.
Rabbi Lior then took the stage, saying "there's an old and renewing movement here of unity. The unity of Israel. What do we have, those who came from Morocco, those from Poland? We have one Torah, and it will unify us."
Condemning the anti-religious legislation passed by the outgoing coalition, the rabbi added "while we are to incline towards the majority, we aren't to go after the majority in doing evil. We will never agree to something that is against the Torah. Even when faced by the majority."
Party chairperson Yishai stressed the party's unique nature of including haredim and religious Zionists, saying "how much they tried to unify and didn't succeed, and thank G-d we succeeded under the guidance of these important rabbis in unifying."
Yishai also expressed his hope that the High Court would accept the appeal of Otzma Yehudit candidate Baruch Marzel, who is fourth on the party list and who was disqualified by a Central Elections Committee vote of 17 to 16 for "racism." Marzel argued the charges against him were based on faulty newspaper quotes that he has recordings to disprove, and added that the accusations disprove the "racism" claim, given that they show he opposed those he considers opponents of Israel regardless of whether they are Jewish or Arab.
MK Yoni Chetboun, number two on the party list, said at the event "we are here to connect everything that (Yair) Lapid sought to rip apart. Lapid harmed the world of Torah, we will build it. Lapid strove to evacuate towns, and we will add towns (in Judea and Samaria)."
"Lapid cut the child stipends, and we will increase them. We are here to fix everything he broke," pledged Chetboun.