Will murdered rabbi's student become Knesset Member for Otzma?

26-year-old student of rabbi who was murdered by terrorist this week could become the Knesset's most unlikely member.

David Rosenberg ,

Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger
Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger
Ofer Amram

When the Jewish Home, National Union, and Otzma Yehudit submitted a joint list for the 21st Knesset on February 21st, Yitzhak Vaserlof seemed like a token candidate.

Placed 40th on the list of a party which is averaging about seven seats in the polls, Vaserlof was the third candidate for Otzma Yehudit on the Union of Right-Wing Parties’ joint slate, behind former MK Michael Ben-Ari, and attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, who were placed on the fifth and eighth slots respectively.

Following Ben-Ari’s disqualification from the election, however, Vaserlof could potentially find himself in the realistic eighth slot – and possibly enter the 21st Knesset.

On Sunday, the Supreme Court overturned the Central Elections Committee’s decision to permit Ben-Ari to run for the 21st Knesset – marking the first time in history the Israeli Supreme Court has disqualified a candidate who had been approved by the committee.

Citing comments made by Ben-Ari in videos shared via social media, the court accepted the petition filed by the Reform Movement and the far-left Meretz party to disqualify Ben-Ari on the grounds of incitement to racism.

In response, Otzma Yehudit has demanded that the Central Elections Committee allow the party to rearrange the joint Knesset list, bumping up its two other candidates – pushing Itamar Ben-Gvir from eighth to fifth, and Vaserlof from 40th to eighth.

On Tuesday, the committee said that it would weigh the request, and asked Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit for his opinion as to whether the committee may permit changes to the order of the list after the February 21st deadline.

If approved, the change would make Vaserlof a realistic, albeit not guaranteed, candidate for the 21st Knesset in next month’s election.

A married father of two, Vaserlof was raised in the Old City of Jerusalem, but moved to south Tel Aviv after serving in the IDF’s Golani Brigade.

If elected, at 26 years old Vaserlof would be the second youngest person ever to serve in the Knesset, after Moshe Nissim, the former Likud MK who first entered the Knesset as a member of the General Zionists party at the age of 24.

After serving in the IDF, Vaserlof, an alumnus of Maalot Yeshiva, enrolled in the Oz V’Emunah yeshiva, Srugim reported, where for the past four years he was a student of the dean – Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger, who as murdered in an Arab terrorist attack this week in Samaria.

Vaserlof, who had previously served as the chairman of the National Union party’s youth wing, joined the Otzma Yehudit faction after he worked with then-MK Michael Ben-Ari during Ben-Ari’s term in the Knesset from 2009-2013.

“That’s how I first met Michael [Ben-Ari], who is an absolutely honest guy, a straight-shooter – as opposed to all of the backroom dealings that go on in politics, and that led me to work with him,” Vaserlof told Srugim.




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