Noam, a far-right party that strongly opposes the rights of the LGBTQ and Reform Jewish communities, will run with the Religious Zionist list in the upcoming election, after opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu requested the merger.
The party’s chairman, Avigdor “Avi” Maoz, made the announcement on Wednesday. He will be taking the 11th slot on Religious Zionism’s slate.
On Wednesday, Netanyahu arrived at the home of Rabbi Zvi Thau, Noam’s spiritual leader, to convince him to accept Religious Zionism’s proposal for a joint run. Polls suggest that Noam, when running independently would not make it into the Knesset. By joining Religious Zionism, votes for Noam would go to the right-wing bloc, rather than being wasted. A Channel 13 poll on Wednesday gave Religious Zionism 13 Knesset seats.
Noam, which posits itself as a party for “normal” people, raises the banner of “Jewish identity,” “family values” and fights against what they call “post-modernism.” The party pushes hard against the acceptance of LGBTQ citizens, legal recognition of their households and education toward tolerating them, as well as female participation in the Israel Defense Forces and mixed prayer at the Western Wall.
Noam proposes that “foreign powers and many countries” are behind a massive campaign to undermine and alter every value, norm or concept in Israel and alludes to a sort of “deep state” running the judiciary and the education system. Its website encourages supporters to report instances of “awareness engineering” – that is, removing religion from the classroom, or introducing gender-neutral writing in Hebrew.
Religious Zionism is an amalgam of far-right parties, headed by Bezalel Smotrich, who on Monday called to outlaw Israel’s Arab political parties. Last month, the party agreed on a joint run for the Knesset with the Kahanist Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party, following a meeting brokered by Netanyahu.
Similarly to Smotrich, Ben-Gvir has also advocated for extremist policies targeting the Arab community in Israel, for instance calling to deport citizens who are “disloyal to Israel.”