(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Religious Zionist voters will have a surprising suitor ahead of the March 17 election: former finance minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid.
Lapid’s party formed a new religious campaign this week, headed by MKs Elazar Stern and Aliza Lavie and overseen by MK Shai Piron. The campaign aims to reach out to what the party calls “normal religious people” who are relatively moderate.
“I don’t think masses of religious people will vote Yesh Atid, but there are many religious people who don’t like the hardal [haredi-Zionist] approach and want to support a party with more moderate views on issues like conversion, religious pluralism, and civil registration for couples,” Piron told The Jerusalem Post in an interview Wednesday.
The campaign will seek voters who cast ballots for Bayit Yehudi two years ago and are looking for a new political home.
“There are many voters who are disappointed with Bayit Yehudi,” Piron said. “They thought it would be a liberal party. But they saw that in the Chief Rabbinate race, it was Stern and I pushing for the moderate Rabbi David Stav, not Bayit Yehudi, which made a deal with the haredim.”
US-born MK Dov Lipman, who is also Orthodox, will not be part of the campaign, as he is focused on English-speaking and haredi voters.
Koolanu leader Moshe Kahlon also reached out to Orthodox voters Wednesday.
In an interview with the haredi radio station Kol Barama, he said it was merely a coincidence that there were no kippa- wearing candidates on his list and that he did not intend to fight haredim the way Koolanu candidate Rachel Azaria has in Jerusalem.
“I just didn’t find a kippa- wearer who was fitting,” he said. “We will not be an anti-haredi party.”