Deal places secular Eldad in fifth National Union spot

To demonstrate that the secular right-wing voter has a home in the National Union, a deal was reached Sunday securing MK Arye Eldad the fifth spot on the party's 17-member Knesset list, instead of the initial sixth spot he had been earned. Fearing Eldad would leave the party if he were not given a higher slot, other party members compromised their on political positions. Eldad never explicitly stated for the media his intention to leave, but instead said: "I won't be last among the six members of the National Union in the Knesset." MK Uri Ariel, of Tekuma, one of the three parties that make up the National Union, agreed to switch from fifth to sixth place on the list to help out Eldad. The move could endanger his position as an MK, if the National Union only receives five mandates in the March elections. In return, if the National Union is in the opposition, Ariel will be given the first political spot offered the party, such as the chairmanship of a committee. If the National Union is in the coalition, he will be offered the party's first ministerial position instead of party leader Benny Elon of Moledet. Elon and MK Effi Eitam of the Religious Zionist Party have agreed to split the second ministerial position in some kind of rotating fashion to be agreed upon between them. MK Zvi Hendel, who is second on the list, will receive only the third ministerial position, if such an option exists. "It's a good thing to do it, everybody gave up something," Elon said of the deal. He told The Jerusalem Post that it was important to help Eldad because "he is a very popular politician and we do not have another one without a yarmulke." Eldad said it would have been "a negative signal for non-religious Jews to see the only one that resembles them at the bottom of the list. If we (the party) wants to be attractive to the non-religious, we have to centralize people with whom they can identify."