Bayit Yehudi submits most lists in municipal races

Party submits 85 lists of candidates nationwide as Bennett seeks to strengthen Bayit Yehudi's presence in the periphery.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN,
September 19, 2013 22:20
2 minute read.
Bennett with his party's candidate for mayor of Kiryat Malachi, Lalo Zohar

Bennett and Lalo Zohar. (photo credit: Courtesy )

The deadline for parties to submit lists of candidates in the October 22 municipal elections passed ahead of Succot, with Bayit Yehudi submitting more officially sanctioned lists than any other party.

Bayit Yehudi submitted 85 lists of candidates nationwide, more than the 60 each submitted by Labor and the Likud and the 46 by Yisrael Beytenu.

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The 85 lists are the most ever submitted by the party or its predecessor the National Religious Party, which is currently represented by 78 council members in 48 local authorities.

Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett’s goal is to strengthen the party’s presence in the periphery via the election of its candidates for mayor in Kiryat Malachi and Sderot, Lalo Zohar and Alon Davidi, respectively. The party is also putting an emphasis on young candidates, putting first on its lists 25-year-old Raphael Trabelsi in Tiberias, 29-year-old Amichai Siboni in Ashkelon and 29- year-old Moti Haziza in Mevaseret Zion.

“We will fight to improve the lives of the people in the periphery with Bayit Yehudi’s values and Jewish identity,” the party’s director-general Nir Orbach vowed.

There will be elections in 191 local authorities in which 5,469,041 people will have the right to vote, including 553,668 people for the first time.

Unlike national elections in which the minimum voting age is 18, in municipal elections, 17-year-olds can vote.

Municipal elections are held every five years.

There will be elections for the first time in 10 years in Bnei Brak after United Torah Judaism was the only party to submit a list of candidates in the 2008 election.

In Bnei Brak, a new hardline haredi party is running against UTJ for the first time for the municipal council and for mayor as well.

The Bnei Torah-Netzach party, representing a faction of the non-hassidic haredi community which is loyal to Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, is contesting the elections due to a feeling within the splinter group that it and its views are being ignored by the main stream UTJ party.

A UTJ official told The Jerusalem Post that he believed Bnei Torah would get no more than two or three seats on the 25-member council.

Heading Bnei Torah’s list is Haim Ruhamkin, one of the founders of a new haredi newspaper, Hapeles, which serves as a mouthpiece for Auerbach’s loyalists, known as the Jerusalem Faction.

The UTJ source said it was still possible Ruhamkin would withdraw his candidacy from the mayoral race and that in the mean time UTJ was not commenting on the developments.

UTJ’s candidate for mayor is Hanoch Zeibert, a Gur Hassid.

The split between the mainstream haredi political and rabbinical grouping and the Jerusalem Faction has been developing since the death of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv in July 2012, then the acknowledged leader of the haredi world.

Following Elyashiv’s death, Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman and Auerbach engaged in a struggle for the leadership of the community, with Shteinman prevailing.

There was almost only one party submitted in this election in the haredi community of Elad.

But Bayit Yehudi submitted a list led by local activist Tzafrir Sharoni in an effort to have a religious- Zionist presence in the city council.

Many former Knesset members who lost their jobs in the parliament in the January general election are running for mayor, including Ze’ev Bielski in Ra’anana, Carmel Shama-Hacohen in Ramat Gan and Zion Pinyan in Tiberias.


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