MK Eli Yishai's 'Patron' Tries to Lure Disaffected Tekuma Rabbis

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Tekuma-Ha'am Itanu meeting, from left: Elyakim Levanon, Eli Yishai, Dov Lior and Meir Mazuz, Dec. 21, 2014.

Dissatisfied with their party's decision to remain in Habayit Hayehudi, two senior rabbis affiliated with the Tekuma faction met Sunday with the "patron" of MK Eli Yishai (Shas), who is supporting the establishment of Yishai’s new party Ha’am Itanu.

Rabbi Meir Mazuz, and Yishai, tried to convince the two Tekuma leaders – the outgoing rabbi of Kiryat Arba, Dov Lior, and the rabbi of Samaria, Elyakim Levanon – to publicly and officially come out in support of the new right-wing Haredi party. However, the two rabbis have thus far declined to do so.

Sources at Ha’am Itanu, which means "the nation is with us," reported that “the meeting was good and the dialogue will continue.”

Lior regularly criticizes Habayit Hayehudi and its leader, Naftali Bennett, and recently has come out against cooperation with that national-religious party. Lior has hinted that he is considering supporting Otzma Le’yisrael – an extreme right-wing party – or Yishai’s new party.

The meeting, which sent yet another signal in that direction from Lior, was held in Mazuz’s home. Shortly thereafter, Yishai’s spokeswoman released pictures from the meeting.

The three rabbis agreed to meet again, possibly even today. Sources close to Yishai predicted that Lior and Levanon will support Ha'am Itanu in the end, “in a step that could cause no little damage to Tekuma, which chose to remain with Habayit Hayehudi.”

Prior to the recent announcement of the establishment of Ha’am Itanu, Haaretz reported that Yishai was working hard to woo the leading rabbis of religious Zionism – including Lior, Levanon, the head of the Har Hamor Yeshiva Rabbi Zvi Tao, and Rabbi Shmuel Tal.

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