When Pirate Party leader Ohad Shemtov approached the members of the Central
Election Committee in the Knesset Wednesday to submit his party’s list for the
January 22 election, he had to remove the hook from his hand and the bandana
from his head, but he kept his skull-and-crossbones T-shirt on.
are a lot of weirdos in this building; you’ll fit right in,” Central Election
Committee member MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu) told Shemtov.
one of the weirdest,” the Pirate Party leader responded. His form listed 34
candidates for the 19th Knesset, and asked that the letter pay be printed on its
Fifteen parties registered with the committee, which opened
its doors to receive lists and letter requests for five hours on Wednesday, and
will accept them again on Thursday evening.
The upcoming vote will be
conducted as in the past, via slips of paper dropped into ballot boxes, each
with a letter or combination of letters representing a party. The 28 parties
expected to register that are either new or that have run before but never made
it into the Knesset will have to compete over nine unused letters: hay, zayin,
yud, nun, pay, kuf, final kaf, final pay and final tzadi, or use combinations of
The first party to register on Wednesday was Daam, an
Arab-Jewish socialist party that has been running for the Knesset since 1999 but
has yet to pass the election threshold.
The current threshold is 2
percent of the votes cast (it was 1.5% from 1992 to 2003, and 1% before 1992.)
Second and third to arrive were, respectively, Strong Israel, founded by former
National Union MKs Arieh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari, and Habayit Hayehudi, which
is running together with National Union but has only one of its 18th Knesset MKs
– Uri Ariel – on its new list.
The two parties both requested the letter
tet, which has belonged to Moledet, one of the parties making up the National
Union, since 1988.
However, National Union chairman Ya’acov Katz, who has
the first rights to the letter, decided to give permission for their use to
Habayit Hayehudi, which will be using the letters tet and bet to form the word
tov, Hebrew for good.
Habayit Hayehudi submitted a list of 80
Chairman Naftali Bennett is in the first spot and leading
national-religious rabbis Haim Druckman and Yehoshua Zuckerman are in the
honorary last two spots.
Strong Israel’s second choice for letters is nun
and tzadi, spelling netz, the Hebrew word for hawk. The party put May Golan, a
26- year-old student and activist against African migrants from south Tel Aviv,
in its unrealistic 10th slot.
Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid also registered and
made a letter request – pay and heh, spelling poh, the Hebrew word for here –
with few surprises, as the party leader presented his list earlier this
Other lists to register on Wednesday include “We Are All Friends –
Na Nach,” the Breslov Hassid party, which requested the letters het and
The Green Leaf Liberal List submitted a list of 14
It requested the first two letters of the word cannabis – kuf
and nun – and is not running along with Holocaust survivors, as it did in the
previous election in 2009.
Labor plans to submit its list on Thursday
evening, with its oldest candidate in a realistic spot, MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer,
76, and its youngest, social protest leader Stav Shaffir, 27, handing in the
papers at the Knesset.
Former president Yitzhak Navon, 91, will be in the
honorary 120th slot.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.