Official Name: National Union (Tekuma)
Leader – Uri Ariel
MKs in current Knesset – 2
Latest Haaretz poll (along with Habayit Hayehudi) – 14
In the space of a couple of months, the party of Israel’s far right has gone through a split, a change in leadership and now perhaps a new alliance. Since its foundation in 1999, National Union has tried to knit together a disparate list of radical streams and splinter parties – ultra-nationalists, diehard settlers, the radical fringes of the secular Revisionist movements and the more ideological elements of the settler mainstream and its religious Zionist supporters. All these groups share one trait: a deep mistrust of Likud and the old National Religious Party (NRP), now Habayit Hayehudi, for their concessions and compromises, which have led over the decades to withdrawals from Sinai, Gaza and parts of the West Bank.
In this election, National Union seems to have grown somewhat more moderate. Two of the party’s more extreme MKs, Michael Ben-Ari and Aryeh Eldad have departed and founded Otzma LeYisrael, while the central committee of the remaining faction, Tekuma (Resurrection), has voted out Yaakov Katz as party leader and replaced him with Uri Ariel. Both men are veteran settler activists, but Katz is seen as a leader beholden only to a small number of radical rabbis, while Ariel is viewed as more democratic. The other development for the party is its teaming up with Habayit Hayehudi. Following the agreement to run together, there is a good chance that National Union will become subsumed back in the old NRP structure as its more activist element.