Habayit Hayehudi will end up with more than 30,000 members after its
registration drive that ends on Sunday night, the party’s election committee
chairman, Rabbi Daniel Tropper, said in an interview at his Jerusalem office on
Tropper has been legally barred from revealing how many people
have already submitted paper forms to join the party, but he said 12,000 people
have joined the party online. He expressed confidence that the 28,000 paid
members required to break even in covering the cost of the drive will be easily
achieved, with the bulk of the membership forms to be submitted on the drive’s
“The boxes are starting to come in,” Tropper said. “On Sunday
I predict a tremendous load. I think the drive is very honest as a whole, but
we’ll always have a certain percentage of foilishtik [monkey
Sunday at midnight, the registration ends and the primary
Tropper claims credit for the decision to initiate the first ever
primary and membership drive in a religious-Zionist party, which in the past all
chose their leadership and Knesset candidates list in central committees and
smaller internal party forums. To minimize corruption, he recommended
prohibiting paying membership fees in cash.
The membership drive and the
primary have been credited with reinvigorating the party, which fell from 12
seats at its peak (in 1959-65, 1969-74 and 1977-81 when it was called the
National Religious Party) to only three in the 2009 election.
persuaded well-know religious-Zionist figures to run for Knesset, which they
could not have done when the list was decided behind closed doors.
primary succeeded in igniting the young people,” he said. “Reserving slots on
the list for a young person and a woman also created a tremendous stir. What was
supposed to be technical ended up in the reawakening of the religious Zionist
world. Young people had lost interest in the NRP and went in all kinds of
directions and now I think we could get 10 seats.”
Tropper knows that
after the November 6 three-way leadership race, he will face another task:
keeping the two candidates who lost the contest – and the thousands of members
they registered – in the party.
“I want it to be like US elections, where
the loser supports the leader,” the New York native said. “I will do my best to
create the best possible list to attract voters. For that, we need unity and
diversity, and I think we will have that.”
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