Habayit Hayehudi membership drive disappoints

Leadership candidate Bennett’s underachieving energizes Habayit Hayehudi rivals; only 7,000 people have joined party online.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
August 17, 2012 05:24
1 minute read.
Naftali Bennet, new director-general of the Counci

Naftali Bennet 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Only around 7,000 people have joined Habayit Hayehudi online since the party began a well-publicized membership drive four months ago, an objective source in the party’s administration revealed this week.

Habayit Hayehudi leadership candidates Naftali Bennett, Daniel Herschkowitz and Zevulun Orlev have each been registering as many members as possible using paper forms, which they will bring to the party’s headquarters on the last day of the drive, September 9.

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But only Bennett, who has been perceived as the front-running candidate, has been registering members online, and he boasted at the beginning of the drive that he would register a massive number of members. His close ally Ayelet Shaked, who runs the online group Israel Sheli, was quoted as saying in May that “even if only 10,000 help my campaign, that would be significant power.”

Hershkowitz and sources close to Orlev expressed satisfaction with the disappointing number for Bennett.

“Bennett made it sound like his support was unlimited,” Herschowitz said.

Orlev’s associates promised to surprise and defeat Bennett in the November 6 election.

While a source in Bennett’s campaign admitted to be disappointed in the numbers, he himself expressed optimism.



“Things are going very well,” Bennett said. I have been surprised by young people who never thought they would vote for Habayit Hayehudi who are becoming members. I won't go into numbers, but we are on track.”

In good news for Bennett, he received an endorsement on Thursday from Maj.-Gen. (res) Moshe Peled, a former deputy education minister for Habayit Hayehudi’s forerunner, the National Religious Party, and a founder of the National Union.

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