Habayit Hayehudi headed for September battle (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL HOFFMAN 05/14/12)
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It looks like there will be an election in Israel on September 4
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu formed a national- unity government
last week, putting an end to his own effort to initiate a September 4
But an election is currently set for that date in the national-
religious Habayit Hayehudi party. The race will pit Habayit
Hayehudi’s incumbent leader, Science and Technology Minister Daniel
Herschkowitz, against his number two, MK Zevulun Orlev.
The race had been set for September 4 before the general election
appeared to be advanced to that date. The party had not yet gotten a
chance to move up its contest after the process of initiating early
elections began, so the September 4 date has stuck, at least
Orlev will kick off the race by hosting a press conference Monday
afternoon in the national-religious bastion of Givat Shmuel. Orlev
chose that location in the center of the country when it appeared
that the Knesset would be dispersed. But now that the Knesset will
have a regular Monday work day, almost no reporters are expected to
attend Orlev’s event, which he said it was too late to move.
Habayit Hayehudi will run together with the more rightwing National
Union party in the next election in an effort to form a larger
national- religious party that could bring back thousands of kippa-
clad voters who have shifted to Likud.
“I think national-religious people learned their lesson when they saw
the Likud initiate a 10-month freeze in Judea and Samaria, support
haredi [ultra-Orthodox] religious court judges, enable the
disqualification of national-religious Rabbi Haim Druckman’s
conversions, and take action against outposts,” Orlev said.
“The Likud clearly lacks the values of the national-religious. A big
national-religious party can have the most impact on key issues for
the national-religious and for the entire country.”
Herschkowitz’s campaign is also in full swing. His spokesman said the
minister is enjoying going to parlor meetings almost every night and
encouraging people to join his party.
A low-profile membership drive in Habayit Hayehudi began two weeks
ago. While both candidates said they want their party to reach out to
thousands of Englishspeaking national-religious voters who the party
has historically ignored, no ads have been taken in English
publications that thousands of the party’s potential members and
In order to make the drive more successful, Herschkowitz wants the
election postponed past September. Delaying the race could allow the
party to fend off a potential challenger.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, hi-tech
millionaire Naftali Bennett, considered running with Habayit
Hayehudi, but after the relatively quick election was initiated, he
instead began the process of forming a new nationalist Zionist party
of religious and secular candidates.
Bennett has stalled the formation of the party and if the Habayit
Hayehudi’s race is delayed, he could be persuaded to run. He said he
would make a decision soon – only after his wife, who is nine months
pregnant, gives birth.
“Religious Zionists people have to be facing outward, not inward,” he
“Instead of worrying about finding jobs in religious councils or
money for their neighborhood mikve, national-religious politicians
should be interested in leading Zionism. There are 40 mandates out
there from nationalist Zionist people who are not necessarily
religious. They have to be pursued.” (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post
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