The Jewish Chronicle
COMMITTEE which selected a new leader of Jewish Home earlier this year was determined to select the antithesis to Naftali Bennett, who had just defected to set up his New Right party.
To replace the young business entrepreneur, who at times had seemed determined to offend the sensibilities of the party’s old guard, especially senior rabbis, members sought a more reassuringly conservative figure.
Rafi Peretz, 63, seemed the perfect candidate. A mild-mannered and unassuming rabbi, he combined a military career as a helicopter pilot and former IDF chief rabbi together with an exemplary record as a charismatic educator at the Atzmona pre-military academy for 18 year-olds.
Rabbi Rafi, so called in the nationalreligious community, appeared to be a unifying figure. He came to the notice of most Israelis 14 years ago during the disengagement from Gaza, when he ordered his students not to oppose the eviction and instead led them in dancing, together with the soldiers, out of their settlement.
He seemed a rather odd choice to lead a political party. No-one remembers the smiling, always-courteous Mr Peretz ever raising his voice or being involved in any underhand dealings.