Yisrael Beytenu could end up being the first party guaranteed to send MKs born
in an English- speaking country to the next Knesset, sources in the party said
The party’s candidates, who will run on a joint list with Likud,
will be revealed at Yisrael Beytenu’s central committee meeting Tuesday. Sources
said an accomplished immigrant from an English-speaking country was being
considered for a realistic place on the joint list.
which has made an effort to reach out to English-speaking voters, made a point
of having an application requesting to run with the party available in English
on the party’s web site. A few candidates with connections to English-speaking
countries submitted the forms and are being considered by the party’s selection
committee, though Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman is thought to have the
final say on who runs with the party.
In 2009, Canadian-born Danny
Hershtal was 21st on the Yisrael Beytenu list, but the party only received 15
seats in the 18th Knesset. The only MK in the current Knesset who is a native of
an English-speaking country is Yohanan Plesner (Kadima), who was born in
In the last decade alone, more than a dozen people who were born
in the US have run unsuccessfully. The last American- born MK elected to the
Knesset was the late Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1984 with the far right-wing Kach
Party that was later banned from running again.
Boston-born right-wing activist Baruch Marzel, is currently the American- born
candidate with the best chance of entering the next Knesset. Marzel is third on
the Strong Israel list headed by MKs Arye Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari, which has
been teetering on the two percent electoral threshold in the
Right-wing activist Arieh King, who was born on a kibbutz but has
American citizenship, is fourth on the list.
“We will represent all the
Anglo-Saxons in Israel from the Center to the Right,” Marzel said. “We know the
importance of immigration and absorption. This country doesn’t show
enough appreciation for the accomplishments of immigrants from English-speaking
Several American-born candidates in multiple parties who came
on the scene with hopes to enter the Knesset all ended up receiving what are
considered unrealistic slots on their parties’ lists.
Gimpel won the ninth seat on the Habayit Hayehudi list, but after a merger with
the Tekuma party, Gimpel will only be 14th on the joint list. Nevertheless,
Gimpel said he remained optimistic.
“I wouldn’t put 14 seats by Habayit
Hayehudi,” Gimpel said. “Whatever happens, I’m 32 years old and I’m just getting
Maryland native Dov Lipman, who gained fame for leading
protests against haredi extremists in Beit Shemesh, will only be 17th on the
list of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, which placed two Ethiopian immigrants
ahead of him despite there being more immigrants from English-speaking countries
in Israel than from Ethiopia.
“As someone who moved here just eight years
ago, it is an honor that I am in the top 20 of a list for Knesset,” Lipman said.
“Our internal polling has 17 as realistic and I am excited about that
possibility. But either way I am in for the long haul and will continue to play
an important role for the party in the Knesset either as an MK or in another
In Thursday’s Labor primary, New York-born former reality
television show star Eitan Schwartz won only the unrealistic 41st slot. Chili
Tropper, whose parents are American and has American citizenship, will be 24th
on the party’s list, which gets a predicted 20 to 22 seats in the
None of the Likud candidates with ties to English-speaking
countries came close to winning realistic slots in the primary last Sunday and
Emanuel Navon, Daniel Tauber, and Orly Benny-Davis won 2,950,
1,516, and 655 votes respectively. All three will be far down on the joint
Likud- Yisrael Beytenu list.
Tauber, who heads Likud Anglos, said there
was a 75% voting rate among Anglo Likud voters, much higher than the 59% general
turnout in the party.