Habayit Hayehudi set to choose 'unknown' leader

The Public Council of Habayit Hayehudi, the newly formed successor to the National Union-National Religious Party, was poised to chose either Prof. Danny Hershkovitz or Avi Wartzman as its head Monday night as The Jerusalem Post went to print. Hershkovitz is a mathematician from the Technion, and Wartzman is an educator from Beersheba. The council ignored pressure from MKs and veteran supporters of the National Religious Party to choose a more well-known figure to lead the list. Earlier, MKs Uri Ariel, Benny Elon and Zevulun Orlev met with the council's chairman, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Ya'acov Amidror, in an attempt to persuade him to lead the party. Amidror refused. Yitzchak Mayer, a former ambassador to Belgium and veteran NRP activist, said that if the party goes to elections headed by an unknown figure, it might not receive the minimum amount of votes needed to pass the electoral threshold. "I am watching my political party, with a proud history of nearly a century, fall apart before my eyes," Mayer said. He added that he was trying to reverse the decision by the NRP's Central Committee and resurrect the party. MK Tzvi Hendel said that both Wartzman and Hershkovitz were qualified candidates and good men. "Both are no less fit than Amidror to head the party," Hendel said. "The problem is that neither is well known, and with just two months before the elections, we will have a difficult time marketing them."