Candidates for the Habayit Hayehudi Knesset list were handed an open verdict by the Tel Aviv District Court on how the party primary should be run, one day before the vote was set to take place.
Also on Monday, National Union leader Ya'acov Katz found his way back to the party's list less than two weeks after symbolically resigning from politics.
On Monday, MK Uri Orbach, Doron Danino, former MK Gila Finkelstein, Shuli Mualem and Beersheba Deputy Mayor Avi Wertzman, asked the Tel Aviv District Court to repeal a Habayit Hayehudi court decision to keep the fifth spot for candidates under 40 even if a woman who fits that criteria is elected in the fourth spot, which is saved for female candidates.
The Tel Aviv District Court said the party court's decision is void, because it was made by only three judges as opposed to five, as instructed by the Habayit Hayehudi constitution. However, the court did not take a position on whether a woman under 40 elected to the fourth spot should cancel the fifth spot's status as being saved for young candidates.
Habayit Hayehudi members will elect the party’s list for the next Knesset in an open primary on Tuesday. There are 14 candidates running.
The only female under 40 running in the primary is Ayelet Shaked, who worked with newly elected party leader Naftali Bennett in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office when he was opposition leader, and founded the “My Israel” hasbara (public diplomacy) movement with Bennett.
Shaked is running in the female slot against Mualem and Finkelstein.
According to the court's verdict, candidates should wait until after the primary on Tuesday to see if Shaked makes it to the second, third or fourth spot. If she does, they can petition the party court and five judges must preside over the hearing.
Meanwhile, Katz was put back on the National Union list by the party's rabbis – Rabbi Elazar Melamed of Bet El, Kiryat Arba Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Haim Shteiner of Yeshivat Merkaz Harav in Jerusalem and Tzfat's Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu – this time in the second slot with MK Uri Ariel leading the party.
Almost two weeks ago, Katz put himself out of the running for a realistic spot on his party’s list for the 19th Knesset, asking to be put in the seventh spot and that the five slots between him and Ariel be filled by candidates of Sephardic descent.
Following his announcement, Katz did not leave his house or answer phone calls from anyone other than his closest advisers.
The most generous of recent polls shows a joint National Union-Habayit Hayehudi list would get 13 seats; however, most polls give the parties a single digit count of either seven or nine seats.
The two parties plan to work out the details of a unity deal after the Habayit Hayehudi primary on Tuesday.
On Monday afternoon, the party's rabbis put its current leader at number two on the National Union list, meaning third or fourth on a joint list with Habayit Hayehudi. In addition, the rabbis determined that Katz will receive the first ministry offered to the party in coalition negotiations.
Meanwhile, the National Union Central Committee meeting, in which 38 party officials elect its list for the next Knesset, has been postponed from Thursday to Sunday.
The committee is expected to approve the rabbis' recommended list.
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