New party starts 'Anglo' registration drive

Next steps for party include parlor meetings in communities with large populations of English speakers.

effi eitam 88 (photo credit:)
effi eitam 88
(photo credit: )
The new Achi [my brother] Party of National Union MKs Effi Eitam and Yitzhak Levy launched a new effort on Thursday to recruit English-speaking Israelis. The party opened an "Anglo Division" led by Beit Shemesh Deputy Mayor Shalom Lerner and run by former Knesset candidate Mordechai Twersky of Pardess Hanna. A new English-language Web site was published Thursday at www.hamifkad.org.il/anglos and an English-speaking hot line was opened at 1-800-10-12-80. The next steps for the party include parlor meetings in communities with large populations of English speakers, such as Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Ra'anana, Efrat, Hashmonaim and Netanya. The party will compete with others that have established Anglo divisions, including Likud and Moledet. "We are going to push for Anglos to become politically active on a national level," Lerner said. "We want to target English speakers who are disappointed with Likud, many of whom joined to support Moshe Feiglin [and his Jewish Leadership faction within Likud]. Instead of imposing their ideas on a different party, we want them to help build a party from the start. We want to start from the grassroots and then the people who join will shape its positions and its future leadership." Lerner said he hoped the party would field an Anglo candidate in the next election. While he did not rule out running himself, he said he was currently concentrating on the November municipal elections in Beit Shemesh. "If there will be enough Anglos who join and are active, then we can have an Anglo member of Knesset," Lerner said. "I think it should be open to anyone who joins us. If people join and become active now, they could become well-known and then become a serious candidate." In addition to opposing concessions to the Palestinians, Lerner said the party would advocate "Anglo causes," such as environmental and health issues and accountability among Israel's leaders. Achi, an acronym for the Hebrew words Eretz (land), Chevra (society) and Yahadut (Judaism), was formerly known as the Tzionut Hadatit (Religious Zionist) Party; it was formed in 2006 following a dispute within the National Religious Party ahead of disengagement from Gaza. Achi is part of the National Union bloc in the Knesset. The party made news when it was joined by Prof. Robert Yisrael Aumann of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Center for the Study of Rationality, who received the Noble Prize in Economics in 2006. "We want idealists and people who really care about the country," Lerner said. "We want people who are upset about what is going on and want to change it for the better in a lasting way."