zevulun orlev 298 88 aj.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
MK Nissan Slomiansky won the first place on the National Religious Party list, after party head Zvulun Orlev. Following Slomiansky were former MK Eliyahu Gabbai and MK Gila Finkelstein. Moti Yogev was voted fourth.
Shaul Yahalom received the fifth place, not considered realistic in light of the number of mandates expected for NRP in the Knesset elections.
Yahalom was considered the strongest of the three MKs in the NRP's 1,080-strong central committee -and was expected to gain the number two slot.
Haim Falk, chairman of NRP's Young Guard, praised Finkelstein on Thursday.
"Gila has a broader base of support than Slomiansky since she enjoys a strong women's coalition in the central committee.
"She is also very popular among the youth for working to free jailed anti-disengagement demonstrators," said Falk.
Rabbi Eitan Eiseman said that Slomiansky was respected for his work as member of the Knesset Finance Committee. "Slomiansky is also considered the primary Torah figure among the NRP MKs," said Eiseman.
Eiseman said that both Slomiansky and Finkelstein were very active parliamentarians in the 16th Knesset. The two passed three laws each during the 16th Knesset.
Abargel, a protege of Yitzhak Levy, who left the NRP with Effi Eitam after Orlev insisted on remaining in the government during preparations for disengagement from Gaza, reckoned that the race between Finkelstein and Slomiansky would be very close. "I'd like to see Slomiansky win, but I am not sure that will happen," he said.
On the eve of the primaries, Falk, one of 25 candidates vying for a spot on the NRP list, withdrew his candidacy. He said the move was aimed at strengthening the more right-wing candidates.
Slomiansky and Moti Yogev - former secretary-general of Bnei Akiva and a retired colonel, who is a hopeful for the fifth slot - are considered more right-wing than Orlev and Yahalom, NRP's senior leaders and decision-makers.
Commenting on the failed attempt to unite the NRP with the National Union, both Eiseman and Falk said it would hurt both parties' election campaigns.
"Instead of investing energy to widen our circle of constituents, the two parties will be wasting energy fighting for voters who would have voted for a unified NRP-NU list anyway", said Falk.
Another candidate for the number five slot is Eli Gabai, 63, a former NRP MK in the 14th Knesset. Gabai, politically moderate and strongly identified with religious Zionist education, would integrate smoothly with an Orlev-led NRP.
Aryeh Farajun, Chairman of the Tirat Hacarmel Local Council, is a third popular candidate for the number five slot. Farajun enjoys strong support from Orlev.