Rabbi-Professor Daniel Hershkowitz was chosen Monday night to head the new Jewish Home party, a spin-off of the National Religious Party (NRP) and the religious flank of the National Union (NU) party.
He defeated Rabbi Avi Wartzman, a Be'er Sheva educator, and Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, administrative head of the rabbinic courts.
A party council will choose the list of Knesset candidates on Tuesday after having elected Hershkowitz, a Technion University mathematics professor. The party council had decided not to name any of the better-known and veteran national religious figures in order to present a new image to the public.
The choice of Hershkowitz came after pressure from three national religious Knesset Members failed to convince reserve Major-General Yaakov Amidror to accept the post as party chairman.
Hershkowitz, 55, also is rabbi of the Ahuza neighborhood in Haifa, where the Technion is located. Married and father of five children, he was a senior officer in military intelligence and has been head of the Technion Faculty Association since 2005.