Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett suffered a political blow on Monday when Tel
Aviv District Court Judge Dafna Avnieli issued an injunction against the list of
candidates for the Jerusalem city council that Bennett drafted.
together with Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel, together agreed that
the Bayit Yehudi list in the October 22 election would be headed by accountant
Dov Kalmanovich, a victim of the first intifada, and city council member Herzl
The heads of Bayit Yehudi’s Jerusalem branch took the party to
court, saying that the branch’s governing council had the right to select the
candidates and not Bennett. Avnieli issued the injunction until another court
date in two weeks in which the court will decide which list is legal: The one
composed by Bennett or another elected by the branch council.
council’s list is headed by former Social Welfare Minister Zevulun Orlev,
Bennett’s political enemy, who ran against him for party leader. If allowed to
run, Orlev is expected to try to use the city council as a springboard to return
to the national leadership of Bayit Yehudi.
“We will definitely win when
we go back to court,” said Jerusalem branch council head Itzik Moshe. “Bennett’s
list was not chosen democratically. The party constitution says we have a right
to choose the candidates, not Bennett.”
Another opponent went further,
saying that the minister does not understand how parties work and does not want
to understand. He said that the politician “does not believe in democracy” and
that the court had “put him in his place.”
A source close to him
responded that the court’s decision was a mere procedural matter. The source
said that out of 80 municipalities in which Bayit Yehudi is running, Bennett had
taken control of many without a fight. He said the minister had only been
challenged in four places, and the only one left in which there was still a
fight was Jerusalem.
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