Habayit Hayehudi primary candidates sue party

Exclusive: Five politicians petition Tel Aviv District Court to change election regulations; al-Dura doctor exits primary race.

Naftali Bennet 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Naftali Bennet 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Five Habayit Hayehudi primary candidates are suing the party’s court and central election committee, according to legal documents obtained exclusively by The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
The petitioners, MK Uri Orbach, Doron Danino, former MK Gila Finkelstein, Shuli Mualem and Beersheba Deputy Mayor Avi Wertzman, have asked the Tel Aviv District Court to repeal a Habayit Hayehudi court decision to keep the fifth spot for candidates under 40 even if a woman who fits that criteria is elected in the fourth spot, which is saved for female candidates.
Habayit Hayehudi members will elect the party’s list for the next Knesset in an open primary on Tuesday. There are 14 candidates running.
The only female under 40 running in the primary is Ayelet Shaked, who worked with newly elected party leader Naftali Bennett in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office when he was opposition leader, and founded the “My Israel” hasbara (public diplomacy) movement with Bennett.
Shaked is running in the female slot against Mualem and Finkelstein.
If Shaked wins the fourth spot and a young candidate the fifth, then whoever is left – among Orbach, Danino, Finkelstein, Mualem, Wertzman and other candidates who do not get the second or third slot – will place sixth or lower, which makes them less likely to get into the next Knesset.
Recent polls have shown that if Habayit Hayehudi runs with National Union, the party could get anywhere from seven to 13 seats.
In October, Habayit Hayehudi’s membership panel had set the primary rules – a return to which the five candidates are now demanding. However, last week, following a petition by under-40 candidates Jeremy Gimpel, Amiad Taub and Yoni Shetbon, the party’s court determined that Habayit Hayehudi’s constitution does not allow Shaked’s potential election as a woman to cancel the slot for young contenders.
The five candidates over 40 asked the Tel Aviv District Court to reverse the Habayit Hayehudi court decision, on grounds that the party’s constitution does not specify what to do if Shaked wins the fourth spot.
In addition, the five say that the party court decision should be voided because it was made by three judges, but the Habayit Hayehudi constitution says five must preside over the court in appeals.
Earlier Sunday, Dr. Yehuda David pulled out of the Habayit Hayehudi primary, because he has cancer.
David is known for refuting claims that 12-year-old Muhammad al-Dura was killed by IDF gunfire. He was acquitted of libel charges in February for saying al-Dura’s father, Jamal al-Dura, sustained an injury in his hand in an earlier incident and not in 2000, when his son died. David had treated al-Dura’s injury at the time – in 1992 – and recognized the scar.
“I’m sorry to say that I am leaving the race because of cancer, which was discovered months ago. I am unable to fight both of these battles,” David told Galei Yisrael Radio.
The doctor said he fainted on Thursday and feels he needs to strengthen himself and his family.