Party registrar makes Gaydamak, Eldad parties official

When voters go to the polls in the next general election, they will have two new options to select from.

arkadi gaydamak 88 224 (photo credit: ar)
arkadi gaydamak 88 224
(photo credit: ar)
When voters go to the polls in the next general election, they will have two new options to select from after the party registrar officially published on Sunday that billionaire Arkadi Gaydamak's Tzedek Hevrati (Social Justice) Party and MK Arye Eldad's Hatikva (The Hope) Party have been approved to run. The two parties have taken very different paths, with Hatikva focusing on running for the next Knesset and Tzedek Hevrati on next November's municipal races. What the parties share is their interest to hit the ground running, with political activity nationwide to build their foundations and guarantee their staying power. "We need 5000 members to be legally qualified to raise up to NIS 2 million for each candidate running for party chairman," said Eldad, who is currently an NU/NRP MK but intends to run with Hatikva in the next elections. "Primaries for our Knesset list will be held three months before the next general election, which we hope will be held as soon as possible." Meanwhile, the right-wing secular party is holding parlor meetings twice a week in locations across the country and formed a protest tent near the Knesset during the Annapolis conference. Unlike Hatikva, which will elect its Knesset candidates with primaries, Tzedek Hevrati's platform says its list will be selected by Gaydamak. "There is a stigma against parties where the leader decides alone but there's nothing wrong with it," said party legal adviser David Narodesky. "He [Gaydamak] has gotten where he has because he knows what he is doing and he has earned it." The one name that Gaydamak has confirmed will be near the top of the list is handicapped activist Momo Elnekaveh, who supported Labor's Amir Peretz in the last election. Gaydamak is expected to include on his list new immigrants and veteran Israelis from across the political spectrum as well as minorities. That variety will also be found among the party's candidates for mayors and council members. Tzedek Hevrati will field candidates in almost every municipality, which would be a big accomplishment for a new party. The most well-known mayoral candidate will be Gaydamak himself in Jerusalem, but the party has also made waves by running Shas leader Eli Yishai's brother in Netivot, former Labor mayor David Buskila in Sderot and ornithologist Yair Tzabari in Tel Aviv. Several currently serving council members have announced that they intend to run for re-election under the Tzedek Hevrati banner, which the party's founders hope will snowball. Some 10,000 people have already joined the party but activists are circulating some 50,000 forms with a goal of reaching 100,000 members - the same as Likud and Labor - by the November municipal races. The party suffered a setback last week when the home of a candidate in Tel Mond was broken into. Hundreds of full membership forms were stolen but nothing else was taken from the home. In order to lower expectations, the party will not field candidates for mayor in most towns, just for council members. "We are new and we have to prove ourselves first," Narodesky said. "We don't want to disappoint people."