All three contenders for the leadership of the Jewish Home party have offered Jeremy Gimpel top slots in their lineups for the party's Knesset list.
Reliable sources in the Jewish Home said that that Minister Daniel Hershkovitz offered Gimpel his number 1 slot (not including the leadership slot), MK Zevulun Orlev has offered Gimpel his number 2 slot and Naftali Bennett has offered Gimpel the number 3 slot. Gimpel and running-mate Ari Abramowitz now need to decide which offer to take – or to reject all of them and offer themselves for the vote independently of the chairmanship candidates.
Both Hershkowitz and Orlev have said that they would not run for a Knesset seat if they lose the vote for chairmanship. This means that if Gimpel were to take up Hershkowitz on his offer and Hershkowitz is not elected chairman, he could find himself at the head of a combined Gimpel-Hershkowitz camp.
Gimpel and Abramowitz's campaign declined comment on this information.
The unofficial tally for total registrants in the Jewish Home, on the morning after the end of the registration drive, is about 40,000. Of these, about 21,000 registered through the Internet and the rest through paper forms. Final results and a Voters' Book are not expected until September 20.
The Gimpel-Abramowitz campaign announced Monday morning that they had passed the 3,000 member mark. "We are the largest non-chairman camp of voters in the Bayit Yehudi/Jewish Home," wrote campaign manager Jeremy Saltan in an e-mail to supporters.
If the numbers are correct, Gimpel and Abramowitz, whose supporters are mostly olim from English-speaking countries, currently enjoy the support of 7.5% of the membership. Making a deal with them could give one of the three candidates for party leadership the needed edge to defeat his rivals.
Ari Abramowitz said in response to the unofficial tally: "We applaud the impressive enrollment and believe it reflects an overwhelming desire by many in Israel to see a more profound integration of religious Zionist values in our country's leadership."
"We believe that the unexpectedly large enrollment in the party is a reflection of the growing desire for a bold religious Zionist voice in the Israeli government," added Gimpel. "While our chances of getting into Knesset are very good, we’ve been described as the 'Kingmakers' in the upcoming Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) elections. This means that whichever chairman candidate we endorse will most likely be elected as the next party leader.
"Due to the vital need for an influential and united religious Zionist bloc, we recognize the profound responsibility of this decision and we are confident that with Hashem’s help, we will make the right choice."
Elections for chairmanship are scheduled for November 6.