Orlev bests Elon in poll for right-wing leader

National Union leader MK Benny Elon Thursday dismissed a poll showing him coming in second as leader of a joint list with the National Religious Party, falling behind the NRP chairman MK Zevulun Orlev by 11 percent. It's been assumed that Elon would top such a list since Orlev was sharply attacked by settlers over the last year for not exiting the government fast enough following the government's approval of the disengagement. Thursday's poll done among National Union and National Religious voters showed, however, that 33 percent supported putting Orlev in the top slot, 21% wanted Elon and another 13% preferred MK Effi Eitam. The rest did not support any of the choices or had no preference. It was premature to speak of who would top the list, given that the negotiating teams were hammering out the terms of the joint Knesset list, said Elon. What was important was that the two parties agree on the terms by which they can jointly run. Avner Shimoni, director-general of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, agreed with Elon. Orlev said he was pleased by the results, adding that it showed the voters approved of his new platform that focuses on education, Jewish identity, welfare and religious Zionism. In calling for a united home for religious Zionists, he said, he includes secular Jews with traditional values. It was important, he said, for both the religious and the secular to find a home in both parties. MK Aryeh Eldad, who is the only secular parliamentarian in the National Union, said it was important for the two parties to reach out to the secular right-wing voters. The question of how to do it, and how important an issue it would be for both parties is still under discussion, said Eldad. Even that configuration is too small, he said. To successfully promote its agenda in the next election, the two parties have to also create a bloc with Yisrael Beiteinu and the Likud, Eldad said. "To save the country we must unite. If we do not go together we are doomed," he said.