Eldad takes second spot as Moledet selects party list

Amid frustration and disappointment over the failure of the right wing to unite into one major party, Moledet on Thursday selected its list of candidates for the upcoming Knesset elections. Moledet is part of the National Union party, with slots 1, 6, 9, and 10 on the National Union list reserved for Moledet candidates. The elections were not much of a surprise since Moledet leader Benny Elon was already chosen by the party council to head its list last year. MK Aryeh Eldad was chosen for Moledet's crucial second spot, which would place him a number six on the National Union list, with a good - but not certain - chance of entering the Knesset. Public opinion polls indicate that the National Union, which currently has six seats in the Knesset, will win between six and eight seats in the March 28 elections. For electoral reasons, Avidgor Lieberman's secular Yisrael Beitenu party is running separately from National Union but is expected to rejoin forces with the party after the elections. Eldad, who wanted to be placed higher on the National Union list, has threatened to quit the party if he is not upgraded. US-born Moledet executive chairman Uri Bank came in third place in the party vote, putting him a distant ninth on the National Union list. Bank, who now stands but a distant chance of getting into the Knesset, would fill in for Eldad if he quits the party. Weeks of on-again, off-again negotiations between the National Union and the National Religious Party to merge into a united right-wing bloc ended in failure earlier this month with each party blaming the other for the breakdown in talks, despite public opinions polls which showed that the parties would more than double in strength had they merged.