Renegade Shas MK Haim Amsalem tried unsuccessfully to draft Labor MK Amir Peretz
to his new Am Shalem Party that will focus on socioeconomic issues and bridging
the gap between the ultra- Orthodox and the secular, sources confirmed on
Peretz’s political stock has gone up since Operation Pillar of
Defense began last Wednesday
, because he was the defense minister who insisted
on purchasing the Iron Dome short-range missile- defense system that has been
proven very effective in shooting down incoming rockets. Since Peretz is not on
good term with Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich, Amsalem told Peretz he would
be welcome in his party. But Peretz said Labor was his political
Amsalem has given the second slot on his candidates list to former
OC Human Resources Maj.-Gen. (res.) Elazar Stern, a religious Zionist who
Amsalem hopes can draw voters away from the joint Habayit Hayehudi/National
Union list. Stern is considered an expert on two key issues for the party:
increasing haredi enlistment in the military and in national service programs,
and integrating ultra-Orthodox men into the work force.
Itzik Alrov, a
Sephardi haredi man from Bnei Brak who led successful protests against the price
of cottage cheese, inquired about the third slot on the list. But Amsalem said
he intends to give that position to a wellknown secular woman whose identity he
will reveal just ahead of the December 6 deadline for party lists to be
submitted to the Central Elections Committee.
If Alrov runs with Am
Shalem, he may have to settle for the fourth slot. Polls have indicated that the
party would win three or four Knesset seats.
Amsalem said he may still
decide to run with Habayit Hayehudi/National Union. But the election of Sephardi
rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan to the National Union’s second slot Sunday made that less
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