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Yisrael Beytenu considering Anglo candidates
By GIL HOFFMAN
03/12/2012
Of all olim running for office, Strong Israel’s Marzel, born in Boston, has best chance for seat; full list set to be revealed.
 
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 Sunday.

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.

Yisrael Beytenu, 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 England.

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.

Kahane’s disciple, 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 polls.

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 countries.”

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.

Atlanta-born Jeremy 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.

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“I wouldn’t put 14 seats by Habayit Hayehudi,” Gimpel said. “Whatever happens, I’m 32 years old and I’m just getting started.”

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 position.”

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 polls.

None of the Likud candidates with ties to English-speaking countries came close to winning realistic slots in the primary last Sunday and Monday.

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.
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