(photo credit: ULPANEI REHOVOT)
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett appointed former deputy education minister Avraham Wortzman as chairman of the party‘s newly strengthened central committee late Tuesday night.
Wortzman served in the last Knesset but was not reelected to the current one. He could have entered the Knesset when MK Yinon Magal was forced to quit four months ago, but chose to remain in his current role as director of Aleh Negev, a rehabilitative care facility for disabled children near Ofakim.
His new role will set up Wortzman to return to the next Knesset with increased power and perhaps enable him to run for the Bayit Yehudi chairmanship in the future as a candidate of the party’s old guard that continues to cause Bennett problems.
The old guard succeeded in forcing Bennett to accept a new party constitution that limits his powers and boosts those of the central committee.
The constitution passed unanimously in a vote at a meeting of the central committee Tuesday in Yad Binyamin.
An election was then held at the event for members of the party’s governing presidential committee and secretariat. The central committee members chose a mix of Bennett loyalists and critics.
Among the newly elected members of the presidential committee is former MK Gila Finkelstein, who was a close ally of Bennett’s former rival Zevulun Orlev, who headed the National Religious Party, the forerunner to Bayit Yehudi.
Chicago native Jeremy Saltan, the head of Bayit Yehudi’s English-speaking division and director of the party’s branch in Mevaseret Zion, ran for a slot on the presidential committee but fell short by 15 votes.
“I ran against many veteran party activists including eight other municipal leaders, two prominent rabbis and a former MK,” Saltan said. “Although I did not win a spot, I was able to do very well, which proves that the Bayit Yehudi party understands the importance of immigrants and Anglos in the political process.”