New party Habayit Hayehudi opts for cyberspace primary

MKs Uri Ariel (Tkuna), Zevulun Orlev (NRP), Benny Elon (Moledet) and former NRP minister Yigal Bibi are running for the chairmanship.

Benny Elon 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Benny Elon 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Habayit Hayehudi (The Jewish Home) will choose its candidates list for the 18th Knesset via cyberspace, the new party's public council decided on Tuesday evening. Anyone who identifies with Habayit Hayehudi's platform and does not belong to another party will be eligible to vote. After providing his or her ID card number, he or she will be given the chance to vote once on-line for both the party chairman and the candidates list. Afterward, the public council will choose the chairman and the list based on the public's suggestions. Originally, the new party, which is a merged reincarnation of the National Religious Party and the National Union's Moldet and Tkuma factions, was slated to have a nation-wide primary to choose its first chairman. MKs Uri Ariel (Tkuna), Zevulun Orlev (NRP), Benny Elon (Moledet) and former NRP minister Yigal Bibi are running for the chairmanship. In parallel, the public council, made up of some 40 university professors, rabbis, businessmen, social activists and former army officers, was supposed to choose the list of candidates for February's national elections. However, the council, which met for the first time on Sunday evening, and is expected to hold marathon meetings through Monday to hammer out the details of the election process, decided to scrap the primary. "We wanted to save time, save money and prevent a situation where our candidates for chairman would expend energy attacking one another instead of focusing on Habayit Hayehudi's campaign," said Yehoshua Mor-Yosef, spokesman for the public council. With the December 25 deadline for registering in the national elections fast approaching, Habayit Hayehudi's public council wanted to accelerate the internal election process. The council is chaired by Maj.-Gen. (res.) Ya'acov Amidror. Some of the rabbis who were chosen to sit on the council include Hebron-Kiryat Arba Rabbi Dov Lior, the rabbi of Bnei Akiva Yeshivot Haim Druckman, Elon Moreh Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, Tzohar Rabbi Yuval Cherlow and Kibbutz Lavi Rabbi Yehuda Gilad. They represent a broad range of opinions and leadership styles from the more liberal Cherlow, Gilad and Druckman to the more right-wing Levanon and Lior, who belong to the haredi-nationalist (hardal) camp. Several women are council members, including Prof. Yafa Zilbershatz, vice dean of Bar-Ilan University's Faculty of Law, and Sarah Eliash, who runs an elite girls' high school in Kedumim. Businessmen include real estate mogul Moti Ziser. The election council also includes at least two Sephardim who represent development towns: Rabbi David Turgeman of Dimona and Miro Dayan of Beit She'an.