Defend the Land - NU/NRP
BY BENNY ELON
THE JERUSALEM POST - March 20, 2006
The National Union-NRP approaches the upcoming election with renewed strength and conviction based on our unique status as the only party on the Right whose candidates encompass both Orthodox and secular, immigrants and native Israelis, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, residents of development towns as well as communities in Judea and Samaria.
The Union in our title aptly describes the diverse but focused voices that make up our membership and our leadership. Our unified slate represents the major Zionist values of settling and defending the Land of Israel, encouraging aliya, and instilling pride in our ideals through solid Jewish education.
National Union-NRP leaders have a clear vision, based on respect for our heritage and our right to live securely in our homeland. We believe in creating a strong right-wing bloc to prevent further territorial withdrawals.
The way to attain true peace and security for the Jewish State is not through appeasing our enemies and "disengaging" from our homeland, but by dismantling the Palestinian Authority and confiscating its weapons. The National Union-NRP believes our right to settle the Land of Israel is based not on demographic or security considerations, but on the eternal right of the Jewish people to a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. Living here is the modern-day fulfillment of 2,000 years of hopes, dreams and prayers to be a "free nation in our land."
WE BELIEVE that the State of Israel must allocate resources and create incentives for the development of the Negev, Galilee and Golan, as well as in Judea and Samaria, taking steps to encourage Jewish population growth within these areas. This will strengthen Israel's economy, security, Jewish identity and love of the homeland within Israeli society.
The expulsion of thousands of Jews this past summer was morally corrupt and contradicts the reason d'etre of our Jewish state. It brought neither peace nor security, while Kassam rockets continue to rain down on Israel on a daily basis and weapons and terrorists continue to flow into Palestinian-controlled areas.
Other political parties offer quick "solutions" with little substance. These are just variations on a theme - acceptance of the Road Map and a continuation down the slippery slope of Oslo, which has become recognized as the process that brought the PLO, and now Hamas, to power in a terrorist state.
For years I have been promoting, in Israel and abroad, the only viable plan for a secure and vibrant Jewish state. The "Right Road to Peace" is a comprehensive plan for a regional solution in the Middle East that would bring a just end to the conflict while removing the threat to Israel's continued existence as a Jewish state (see: www.therightroadtopeace.com for complete details).
National Union leaders have proven that credibility and idealism are more important than ministerial portfolios. We gave up our seats in Ariel Sharon's cabinet the moment it became clear that a Likud-led government had adopted the policy of expulsion.
I am proud of the personal involvement of National Union-NRP leaders in the efforts to save Gush Katif and northern Samaria. Effie Eitam, Uri Ariel and I joined our colleague Tzvi Hendel of Ganei Tal, moving to communities slated for destruction and remaining there until the bitter end. Aryeh Eldad, chairman of the Knesset Ethics Committee, moved to Sa-Nur and led the cry for nonviolent civil disobedience in the struggle against the government's anti-democratic expulsions.
National Union-NRP leaders have clean track records, based on integrity and honesty, and rooted in Jewish values and ethics. Our party is a staunch advocate of both political and judicial reform that will ensure that public officials are held accountable for their words and their actions. We will pass legislation to guarantee that Israeli politicians adhere to their party's platform on central issues, and will establish a constitutional court that properly represents Israeli society, thus ensuring a clean political system.
The National Union-NRP believes that the State of Israel must do everything in its power to become more attractive for aliya, particularly from the West. We recognize the unique contribution that olim can make within Israeli society, and we will push forward legislation to achieve this goal, including: recognition of professional degrees of Western olim; providing refresher courses to ensure a smooth transition into the Israeli workforce; protecting aliya rights that are crucial to a successful absorption into Israeli society and, most importantly, promoting economic growth and a higher standard of living for all our citizens.
The challenge today is to instill our youth with values that stress our Jewish identity. Solid Jewish education is the basis for reinvigorating our vision of the future. The Jewish people have returned to their land, with the conviction that our heritage is the right road map for the State of Israel.
Only a strong educational background will give our nation the strength that we need to face today's challenges as proud Jews in our land.
The writer, an MK, heads the National Union and National Religious Party.
NU-NRP reaches out to secular voters
by Etgar LefkovitsTHE JERUSALEM POST - March 22, 2006
Attempting to broaden its appeal, the National Union-National Religious Party reached out to secular Israeli voters on Tuesday, promoting its joint right-wing list as the best choice for the nationalist camp.
"If we will be a sectoral party, then we have failed in our task," party leader Benny Elon said at a Jerusalem press conference which featured several secular former Likud, Labor and Kadima supporters who have jumped political ship to the National Union-NRP.
Recent public opinion polls indicate that the National Union-NRP will win between eight and 10 seats in next week's elections, significantly lower than the 15 seats that party officials had been hoping to get following the long-planned merger of the two parties. The National Union-NRP is competing with both Likud and Avigdor Lieberman's increasingly-popular Israel Beiteinu for the right-wing vote.
"If you're voting, at least vote for those people who are honest with themselves, and who have a conscience," said Eli Hadad, a former Likud activist from Ma'aleh Adumim who endorsed the National Union-NRP at the event.
The press conference mirrored a similar event held by Kadima earlier this month which featured religious Israelis who said they were voting for Kadima. Speaking under a banner that said "I am secular and voting National Union-NRP," Elon cast doubt on public opinion polls which are forecasting a landslide Kadima victory, saying that a right-wing nationalist government would, in fact, come to power.
The party's attempt to reach out to the secular public was somewhat blunted by the fact that Aryeh Eldad is its only secular candidate with a realistic chance of entering the Knesset, although three secular candidates are in the party's top 20 slots.
Eldad said that internal party opinion polls indicated that about 40 percent of its supporters are not religious.