(photo credit: REUTERS)
The powerful Bayit Yehudi Anglo Forum released its list of recommended primary candidates exclusively to The Jerusalem Post Sunday.
There are about 5,000 Anglos out of Bayit Yehudi’s 77,000 members and the party has an official forum for them, as mandated by its constitution, led by party leader Naftali Bennett’s aide, Jeremy Saltan.
Party members can vote for seven candidates, three receiving two points each, and four getting one point each, adding up to 10. Any deviation from this formula will lead to a ballot's disqualification.
Saltan and the forum recommend six contenders, asking that, in Wednesday’s primary, Anglos give two points each to Bayit Yehudi faction secretary Uri Bank, faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked, and Knesset Finance Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky.
The Anglo forum recommends its members give one point each to Im Tirzu founder Ronen Shoval, MK Shuli Muallem-Refaeli, media personality and settlement builder Shimon Riklin and Pensioners’ Affairs Minister Uri Orbach.
On Sunday night, the forum hosted a panel at Jerusalem’s OU Center, in which candidates displayed their right-wing bonafides.
Detroit-born Bank spoke about becoming politically active by protesting against the Oslo Accords.
“How right we were [to oppose Oslo] – excuse me for using that pun,” he quipped.
Riklin, who is not Anglo, “broke his teeth,” as the Hebrew expression for having difficulty with a foreign language, speaking heavily accented but otherwise impeccable English.
The candidate described international interest in settlements he helped found, using an example of a Japanese news crew showing up at one.
“Why do people in Japan care about two caravans near Nablus? They said it’s very important to them. I still don’t understand it. If you don’t have faith in God, you can’t explain what’s interesting about the construction in Judea and Samaria. Otherwise, it’s not logical,” he said. “Maybe that sounds Messianic, but it just doesn’t make sense otherwise.”
Chagit Gibor, who lived in Brooklyn while her father taught at Flatbush Yeshiva, focused on laws to help young families and working mothers, but made sure to recount an incident 10 years ago during the International Bible Contest, in which she raised an anti-disengagement placard while then-prime minister Ariel Sharon was speaking, which got her arrested and questioned for seven hours.
Fuchs, who was born in the US, said he founded his organization, the Legal Forum for Israel, to fight for the rights of Gush Katif evacuees, and called for a greater separation of powers in government.
“The Supreme Court’s role as High Court of Justice became so strong it overruled and is more powerful than the Knesset,” he stated.
“This situation doesn’t exist anywhere and it makes it difficult to do anything. My goal is to streamline Israeli democracy.”
Bank spoke of a need for reform in the government system, as well, saying that “the common culture where politicians talk to you before an election and forget about you for the next four years – OK, two years in Israel – needs to change.
“We want Israeli politicians to understand they can’t ignore the public in the interim,” he said.
Riklin endorsed Bank on that front, saying he goes to him if he has any questions about Anglo-Israelis or the English-speaking Jewish Diaspora, and called for the audience to vote for him.
Other Anglo candidates US-born Chanie Luz and South African-born Ze’ev Schwartz did not participate in the panel.