Habayit Hayehudi candidates spar over election date

Party's election committee mistakenly set the party’s leadership race for the same date as the US presidential election.

Orlev 311 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Orlev 311
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Habayit Hayehudi leadership contenders Naftali Bennett, Daniel Herschkowitz and Zevulun Orlev might not have to try to share the spotlight with American presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney after all.
Habayit Hayehudi’s election committee mistakenly set the party’s leadership race for November 6, the same date that a much-more publicized election will take place for president of the United States.
Party officials admitted that when the committee set the date, they were unaware that the US election was that day.
The election committee will meet Tuesday night to vote on a proposal to delay the leadership race from November 6 to 13 and an election for the party’s Knesset slate from November 13 to 20. The official reason for the proposed delay was that the company in charge of compiling Habayit Hayehudi’s membership rolls had not completed its work.
The election committee’s chairman, Rabbi Daniel Tropper, is using the opportunity to repair his committee’s error.
“It’s obvious that the race has to be postponed,” Tropper said.
“We need coverage for our election to build up our party and we can’t get that on the day of the election in the US. We also need to postpone the election by a week to make sure to work out mistakes and ensure the election will be fair.”
Tropper said Habayit Hayehudi expected 30,000 people to join the party in its membership drive, but 52,000 joined, including 25,000 on the last day of the drive. He said the much larger numbers required more time to handle.
Complicating matters, all three candidates are trying to use the delay for their own political benefit. Orlev wants the races for party leader and Knesset slate to both be held on November 13, but Bennett and Herschkowitz both vigorously oppose such a step and Herschkowitz has even threatened legal action against the party he heads.
“Changing the rules of the game a month before the election is unfathomable,” Herschkowitz wrote Tropper. “The rules that were set made sense and were the basis for how the candidates. We will use all means necessary to prevent this.”
Herschkowitz said he did not oppose delaying both races by a week for technical reasons, but he said he would not accept what he called “Orlev’s political shenanigans.”
He said Orlev was “justifiably concerned about losing. Orlev said that without holding both elections on the same day, he would oppose delaying either race.
“People made plans and new dates should not be chosen,” his spokesman said.
Bennett’s campaign manager said Bennett was “completely against any change in dates of the elections or any other change.”