Canadian running for slot on Habayit Hayehudi

Immigrant runs for place on list to "save Jerusalem."

josh reinstein canadian knesset 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
josh reinstein canadian knesset 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A 31-year-old Canadian immigrant who has served as director of the Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus since its inception nearly five years ago is running for a slot on the Knesset list of the new Habayit Hayehudi party. "I believe that this election will decide the future of Jerusalem," Josh Reinstein told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. "The battle for Jerusalem has begun and I cannot sit on the sidelines and watch it go by." The hawkish party, which is the recently formed successor to the National Union-National Religious Party, is in the process of selecting both its leader and its Knesset list, with the former expected to be announced later this week. Reinstein, who describes himself as "traditional" on the religious spectrum, believes he can offer the party new energy and a broader voter base by reaching out to traditional, immigrant, young, and English-speaking voters in the February 10 general election. "As a candidate I can appeal to both traditional and secular Jews, olim and the youth," Reinstein said. "The people of Israel, like Jews in every time and place, respect and revere our traditions, history and holy places. I believe that Habayit Hayehudi is Israel's last political line of defense." In the last elections, the National Union-National Religious Party garnered nine Knesset seats, and party veterans hoped its new configuration would help it win more. But recent tensions during the birth of the new party, as long-time party elders seek the top spot without an open primary, have cast a pall over its potential to expand beyond its core right-wing voters. Habayit Hayehudi's new leader, who, like the party's Knesset list, will be selected by the party's 40-person public committee, will be announced on Thursday. At the same time, in an effort to reach out to nonreligious voters, the party has decided to allocate at least two of the top 10 slots to traditional candidates. Reinstein is seeking one of those places. Reinstein, who was born in Canada and raised in Dallas, is an honors graduate of the University of Western Ontario, where he earned a degree in political science. After immigrating he served as a tank gunner in an elite unit of the Armored Corps. He served as English-language spokesman for the National Union Party before assuming his current position as director of the Knesset's cross-party Christian Allies Caucus, which put him in close contact with lawmakers and government leaders around the world and gave him wide exposure in the Knesset corridors. Reinstein, married with a son, lives in Jerusalem.