"Nous devons cesser d'avoir peur". Le leitmotiv de Naftali Bennett.
(photo credit: GUR DOTAN)
A group of branch heads in Bayit Yehudi united last week in an effort to limit the powers of party chairman Naftali Bennett, Army Radio revealed on Sunday morning.
Some 40 branch heads and key activists met on Wednesday to discuss how to change the party’s constitution that grants Bennett more power than any of his predecessors at the helm of Bayit Yehudi or its forerunners.
They were particularly angry at Bennett for taking for himself the power to select a Bayit Yehudi Knesset candidate for each fifth place on the party’s slate.
The lengthy meeting was seen as a sign that Bennett will no longer receive carte blanche from his party’s activists following Bayit Yehudi’s disappointing showing of only eight Knesset seats in an election in which polls at the start of the race predicted double.
The activists said too much of the party’s resources went to campaigning online and not in the field. They also expressed frustration that Bennett’s advisers shield him from the activists’ complaints and make it hard for them to reach him.
Activists such as Rabbi Yehiel Wasserman from Givatayim and Nehemia Rafel from the Religious Kibbutz Movement called for negotiating a new constitution with Bennett. But Jeremy Saltan, a branch head from Mevaseret Zion, said it was unrealistic to think that a majority can be found in the Bayit Yehudi central committee to change the constitution.
Wasserman told The Jerusalem Post that none of the activists really came out against Bennett.
The Army Radio report was greatly exaggerated, he said.
“I told them, let us meet with Bennett and help him make changes in the Bayit Yehudi constitution that would help the party,” Wasserman said.
“It is true that the party failed in the election and it must be determined why it happened so lessons could be learned. But there is no rebellion.”
A Bayit Yehudi spokesman said in response to the report that Bayit Yehudi was proud to be one of the few democratic parties left in Israel.