3 outsiders vie for Habayit Hayehudi chairman

Mathematician, educator and rabbinical courts administrative head make list of finalists.

In a surprise move, three non-politicians were chosen Thursday evening as candidates for chairman of the new right-wing party Habayit Hayehudi (The Jewish Home). Habayit Hayehudi's Public Council selected Technion mathematician Prof. Rabbi Danny Hershkovitz, Beersheba educator Avi Wartzman and rabbinical courts administrative head Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan as finalists in the chairmanship elections. The other three candidates, NU/NRP MKs Uri Ariel, Zevulun Orlev and Benny Elon, were dropped. On Monday, the public council will convene to choose from among the three finalists. On December 17, the public council, which is made up of rabbis, professors, IDF commanders, businessmen and social activists, will chose the list of candidates for the Knesset. Orlev said in response that he respected the democratic decision. On Wednesday MK Yitzhak Levi, also of NU/NRP, announced that he was leaving politics in protest of the Habayit Hayehudi public council decision to do away with an open primary election for the chairmanship. Habayit Hayehudi was created as a result of a merger between the National Religious Party and the National Union.