Bayit Yehudi mulls slot for immigrant

The Bayit Yehudi party’s constitution committee will be deciding soon whether to reserve a slot on the party’s Knesset lists for an immigrant.

July 7, 2014 04:36
2 minute read.
Olim arrive in Israel with Nefesh B'Nefesh, August 13, 2013.

Nefesh B'Nefesh aliya Aug 2013 370. (photo credit: Sasson Tiram)


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The Bayit Yehudi party’s constitution committee will be deciding soon whether to reserve a slot on the party’s Knesset lists for an immigrant, party officials said Sunday.

Slots reserved for immigrants in Likud and Labor are traditionally won by candidates from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia. But most of Bayit Yehudi’s immigrant membership come from English-speaking countries.

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Yesh Atid’s Dov Lipman is the only current MK born in the United States and the first American- born MK in 30 years. If the proposal submitted by Bayit Yehudi central committee member Jeremy Saltan passes, there could be an immigrant from an English-speaking country from now on.

“Bayit Yehudi’s voter base has a large immigrant following, including many from English-speaking countries, which has not translated into the makeup of the current list,” Saltan said. “We should not have to wait 30 years between religious Zionist immigrant MKs. The importance of an immigrant slot is to ensure an immigrant representative is in our faction every term.”

Detroit-born, Chicago raised Uri Bank, who ran for Knesset twice before as part of Moledet, is expected to run. Texan Ari Abramowitz may also throw his hat in the ring.

But a reserved slot that could guarantee entry into the next Knesset could attract potential candidates from the business world or other fields.

Atlanta-born Jeremy Gimpel won the 14th slot on Bayit Yehudi’s list for the current Knesset. Polls predicted that he would enter the Knesset but the party ultimately won 12 seats and he remained outside.

Gimpel has since been appointed as the deputy director of World Mizrachi, a job that enables him to work with young religious Zionists around the world. He will also be hosting a radio show together with Abramowitz on VoiceofIsrael.

com, a new Jerusalem-based English broadcast network that will be launched soon.

“I have more influence helping the Jewish people and Israel now than I would have had I been in the Knesset, where I would have been bogged down by politics,” Gimpel said.

Monday is the deadline to file objections to the first draft of the Bayit Yehudi constitution, which was published 10 days ago and did not include a reserved slot for an immigrant.

Many activists came to Bayit Yehudi’s headquarters Sunday to present their objections to the party’s constitution committee, which is headed by Rabbi Danny Tropper.

A source in the party said it was unlikely that changes would be made to the draft.

Activists are also trying to persuade the committee to reserve slots for a secular candidate and for a young candidate. Slots were reserved for young candidates in the past.

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