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(photo credit: Israel Beitenu)
The list of candidates that Israel Beiteinu will submit to the central elections committee at the Knesset on Wednesday will be the surprise of the March 28 election, party chairman Avigdor Lieberman said at a party gathering in Neve Ilan on Tuesday.
Lieberman convened his party's candidates for a pep talk, and to allow them to get to know one another ahead of the campaign. He introduced the mix of native Israelis and immigrants who make up the list and told them to start working immediately to introduce more voters to the party.
"When people ask me whether we are an Israeli party or an immigrant party, I say that we are a party that implements the three main issues of Zionism: aliyah, defending the land and settlement," Lieberman said. "The candidates on the list all have experience with these three issues, and anyone who is Zionist and not post-Zionist can vote for us."
Israel Beiteinu's top 10 candidates are Lieberman, MK Yuri Shtern, former Shin-Bet deputy head Yisrael Hason, journalist Yosef Chagal, IDF major (res.) Estherina Tartman, Rishon Lezion city councilman Stass Misznikov, Labor MK Sofa Landver, former police deputy inspector-general Yitzhak Aharonovich, deputy Netanya mayor Rober Altuv and student leader Alex Miller.
Other notable names on the list include Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria attorney Dudu Rotem (12th slot) and former Shinui MK Yigal Yasinov (14th).
Tartman, 48, will be sworn in at a special Knesset session on Wednesday, replacing MK Michael Nudelman, who quit the Knesset on Monday. She said that as a religious woman, it was special to her that her first duty in the Knesset would be to help affix a mezuzah in a new wing of offices in the parliament.
A seventh-generation native Jerusalemite, Tartman lives in the settlement of Givon. She is a businesswoman and a former bank deputy director-general, but her claim to fame is that in the army she parachuted 32 times, more than any woman in Israeli history. She still serves reserve duty and fought in Operation Defensive Shield together with her son and daughter.
Landver said she had no problem shifting from Labor to Lieberman's party because she intends to focus on socioeconomic issues and because the traditional political system has been shaken up.
"There was a political tsunami that confused what used to be left, right and center," Landver said. "There are generals of security and there are generals for helping people. I am a fighter for the poor."
Abramovich, 55, served in the police for 32 years and was a candidate for inspector-general. He wrote Israel Beiteinu's plan on fighting crime and violence, which will be featured in the party's campaign.
Miller, 28, was born in Moscow and he now lives in Rishon Lezion. He is the deputy chairman of the National Union of Israeli students and he is finishing a degree in teaching engineering at ORT Tel Aviv. Miller said the fact that Israel Beiteinu placed a young candidate so high on the list showed that the party believes that young people are ready to make a serious impact.
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