Bennett vows to break online registration record

Habayit Hayehudi leadership candidate determines to pass Labor chairwoman Shelly Yechimovich’s Israeli record.

Naftali Bennet 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Naftali Bennet 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The three candidates for the leadership of Habayit Hayehudi, Naftali Bennett, Daniel Herschkowitz and Zevulun Orlev will face off in what is expected to be a fiery debate Tuesday night at the Jerusalem College of Technology.
But the November 6 race is likely to be decided, not in verbal sparring, but in the battle to sign up as many members as possible to the party in its membership drive that ends September 9.
All three candidates are registering new members in the traditional way using paper forms that will be submitted on the last day of the drive.
Only Bennett has made a serious effort to use the Internet for membership registration.
Bennett’s campaign vowed Monday to pass Labor chairwoman Shelly Yechimovich’s Israeli record for members registered online by a candidate in a leadership primary.
At first Bennett’s campaign manager Moshe Klughaft said his client had already beaten Yechimovich’s record, based on a report about her membership drive on her own web site in which her campaign boasted signing up 6,480 people online. He said Bennett had registered 7,600 members via his website since he joined the race on May 18.
But Yechimovich’s chief of staff Ofer Cornfeld told The Jerusalem Post that some 2,000 Labor members had joined the party via her website between the beginning of March and mid-April when the party legalized online registration and established a functioning web site for the membership drive. Those 2,000 members were sent paper forms that were not included in the 6,480, so according to Cornfeld, Bennett still has 880 more people to sign up to break the record.
Cornfeld pointed out that the figures are not entirely comparable, because Labor’s drive lasted 99 days, while Habayit Hayehudi’s is 115. So even if Bennett overtakes Yechimovich later on, the record would have to be asterisked, because he did not do so by his drive’s 99th day, which was last Friday.
Klughaft called the 2.000 members who joined via Yechimovich’s web site before Labor legalized online registration “unofficial” and questioned whether they should count toward her record.