Habayit Hayehudi leadership candidate MK Zevulun Orlev called upon one of his competitors in the three-man race, Science and Technology Minister Daniel Herschkowitz, to quit the contest at a Jerusalem press conference on Thursday.

Orlev revealed at the press conference that he and his political allies had registered close to 30,000 people in the party’s membership drive that ends on Sunday night. Herschkowitz claimed that he had signed up 15,000 and the third candidate, Naftali Bennett, more than 25,000.

According to Orlev, the numbers prove that Herschkowitz has no chance to win. He said they should unite to prevent a victory by Bennett, who wants non-religious people on the party’s Knesset candidates’ slate.

“Even though we have had disagreements, I have no ideological dispute with Herschkowitz,” Orlev said.

“He is also worried by the attempt to make the party not religious. I hope when he realizes the situation in the field, out of responsibility, he will decide to drop his candidacy and endorse me to guarantee our party’s future.”

Herschkowitz said that Orlev’s numbers were detached from reality and proved that he was panicking.

“The public is sick of [Orlev’s] undermining and narrow-mindedness,” Herschkowitz said. “They will vote for the man who can unite religious Zionism in a large party that can have influence in the coalition.”

Bennett’s campaign mocked Orlev’s numbers, saying that if there were 40,000 members and Orlev was responsible for 30,000 and Herschkowitz for 15,000, then he had minus 5,000.

Orlev said that unlike Bennett, who signed up people online whom he did not even know, his own members were people that he and his close allies had met and built relationships with over his 13 years in politics.

“I went through a wonderful journey in this campaign,” said Orlev. “There has been an amazing awakening among the classic religious Zionists. The drive will decide the results [of the November vote for chairman], and there is more work to do. But the results indicate that there is winner in the primary and I am confident that it is me.”

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