Habayit Hayehudi will choose its leader on Tuesday, in a primary race among longtime MK Zevulun Orlev, former Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip chairman Naftali Bennett and mystery candidate and schoolteacher Yehuda Cohen.
The 53,875 party members will vote in 168 ballots spread throughout Israel starting at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. Orlev and Bennett will each vote in their respective hometowns of Jerusalem and Ra’anana.
In preparation for Tuesday’s race, Bennett’s camp came up with creative solutions to get voters to polling places. The leadership candidate’s staff compiled a list of volunteers with cars who will drive young voters to polling places, while Bennett volunteers in the religious Zionist stronghold Givat Shmuel will send babysitters to watch voters’ children while they exercise their democratic right.
“Something new will begin tomorrow,” Bennett said on Monday. “On Wednesday, we will face the general election and fight for the State of Israel’s Jewish identity, for settlements, for religious- Zionist values that we could not promote because we were abandoned by our voters in recent years.”
Bennett promised to turn Habayit Hayehudi into a strong party in the next coalition, and make religious Zionists an influential demographic.
Orlev called for voters to elect him as party reader and put Bennett at the top of the party’s Knesset list.
“I believe that my rich experience in the Knesset and government will ensure that religious Zionism is united and will preserve the national-religious identity of Habayit Hayehudi,” Orlev said.
The MK called for a united list with the National Union as “the key to increasing our power in the Knesset and to being senior partners in leading the country.”
Cohen has not released any statements to the press since submitting his candidacy 10 days ago, nor has he responded to inquiries from The Jerusalem Post.
Habayit Hayehudi will hold a primary for the party’s list in one week, and on Monday, the four candidates vying for the under-40 slot, Jeremy Gimpel, Ayelet Shaked, Amiad Taub and Yoni Chetboun participated in a debate at Bar-Ilan University.
Earlier Monday, Taub, a PR consultant for religious clients and former spokesman for Orlev, revealed that he was invited to meet with the Egyptian Embassy’s diplomatic attaché, Amar Yussuf, two weeks ago.
According to Taub, Yussuf is closely following the Israeli political situation, including the Habayit Hayehudi primary.
Taub asked Yussuf about the Egyptian government’s treatment of Jews remaining in the country and protection of synagogues in Egypt.
Taub reported the meeting to the Foreign Ministry, and did not reveal it to the press until Monday.
American-born candidate Gimpel, who brought nearly 3,000 English-speaking members to the party, released his first campaign video in Hebrew this week, hoping to present his views to to all of Habayit Hayehudi’s voters.
Online videos are Gimpel’s area of expertise, as he pointed out in the clip.
The primary candidate is a co-founder of the public diplomacy website, TheLandofIsrael.com, which has over 12 million views on YouTube.
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