Jewish Home Primaries Have Begun

Polls open at 10:00 despite temporary injunction in Lod District Court; 35 candidates running for select spots.

Tova Dvorin ,

Jewish Home party members (file)
Jewish Home party members (file)
Flash 90

Jewish Home will hold their primaries Wednesday as planned, after the Central region District Court rejected a temporary injunction on holding the vote issued at the last minute by the Lod District Court.

During the hearing, Judge Varda Maoz clarified that the injunction would not prevent the primaries from being held at 10:00 am, but did call for an investigation into claims from Attorney Eyal Bar-Lev that he did not receive the same information on running as the rest of the party's candidates ahead of the race.

Bar-Lev claims that underhanded tactics were used to undermine his candidacy for a spot on Jewish Home's Knesset list. Among other things, he says he was prevented from obtaining a list of the party's Central Committee members - a move he insists was deliberately calculated to stop them voting for him.

He also claims that party officials are denying requests to provide a post-vote breakdown of results by polling stations - although in the last few hours the party confirmed it would be doing so.

Meanwhile, at least one candidate - the New Israel Fund (NIF)-linked Batya Kahana Dror - has left the Jewish Home race, and Akiva Shmueli announced he was bowing out and giving his support to candidate and former Im Tirzu leader Ronen Shoval. 

Jewish Home Chairman and Economics Minister Naftali  Bennett and Rabbi Shimon Or are facing off for party leadership, while the MK list now includes 35 candidates. Voters will choose seven names from the list, giving 2 points each to three candidates and 1 point each for four. 

The Tekuma faction held its own primaries on Sunday. 

Housing Minister Uri Ariel was elected to head the party, being the only candidate for the position. Attorney Bezalel Smotrich, Operations Manager for the Regavim NGO, was placed in the number two spot. He was followed by MK Orit Struk, MK Zevulun Kalfa and Nachi Eyal.

On the joint Jewish Home-Tekuma list, Ariel will be placed in second place, Smotrich will be ninth, Struk will be in the 15th spot, and Kalfa will be placed in the 18th spot, which at this point will likely not be a realistic spot.

The latest polls predict that Jewish Home will garner 15-16 seats in the 20th Knesset.