Polls Close in Jewish Home Primaries
Polls in the Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party’s primaries closed at 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening. Final results are expected to be announced at a special press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Each of the 54,000 Jewish Home party members were allowed to vote for up to five candidates, and ranked their preferences from one to five. A higher ranking makes it more certain that a candidate will be elected to the Knesset.
Candidates for MK include incumbent Uri Orbach and newcomers Yitzchak Ben Aryeh, Aharon Jimani, Jeremy Gimpel, Doron Moshe Danni, Avi Wortzman, Amiad Taub, Motti Yogev, Shuli Muallem, Rachamim Nessimi, former MK Nissan Slomianski, Gila Finkelstein, Yoni Shetbon and Ayelet Shaked.
The vote took place a week after Naftali Bennett won the race for the leadership of the Jewish Home party with an overwhelming majority.
Bennett thanked party members shortly after the polls closed, saying, “Tomorrow afternoon we will know the results. All candidates are worthy, and no matter who is elected, we will work together in cooperation and comradeship.
“As of this moment - there are no more camps. We are all together,” he said.
“Thanks to the tens of thousands of voters who came out to vote again. Thanks to the thousands of activists who gave their all. Thanks to all the candidates who traveled up and down the country in recent months. I know what that’s like....
“Friends, this is an amazing feeling,” said Bennett. “A wave of energy sweeps the country. People connect to one another. Religious and non-religious. Older and younger. We are all together. The common denominator: they all want a more Jewish, more Zionist and more ethical country.
“But the real battle is just beginning – tonight we go to sleep, tomorrow we will know the make-up of the list, and right after that: on to the general election!
“There is only one thing I can assure you all of right now – there are two months of tremendous effort ahead for all of us!” concluded Bennett.
In the coming days the National Union Party is expected to reveal its list of candidates for the Knesset, and then the two parties will begin talking about running in a joint list in the elections, as previously agreed upon by Bennett and National Union Chairman Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz.
The joint list, however, will not include current National Union MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari. The two announced Tuesday that they are splitting off from the National Union and forming a new faction, "Power to Israel."
MK Eldad said that the two conducted a poll that showed that Ben-Ari alone would receive two Knesset seats, while both of them together would garner three.
National Union MK Uri Ariel later called on the two to reverse their decision and run with the National Union after all.
"I am very saddened by this move," Ariel told Arutz Sheva. "We turned to them in writing and asked that we run together and lead the National Union, which will bring many Knesset seats and serve as an anchor for the Netanyahu government."
MK Ariel warned that Eldad and Ben-Ari will not pass the minimum threshold for entering the Knesset and will cause great damage to the right and the Land of Israel.
He implored the two to take back their "unworthy" action. "I hope that they will come to their senses and that they will not do it," he said. "They have no chance of passing the threshold. They claim that they have some poll but this has no standing on the ground. It reminds me of the next to last elections, I went to Hevron and met Baruch Marzel. I asked him what's up. He said 'we have reached 4 Knesset seats'. In actual fact, they brought 27,000 votes. They cannot pass the threshold and in their downfall they will make it hard for the right wing bloc to be a strong bloc in the next government."