New men-only Religious Zionist party?

Activists from prominent Religious Zionist yeshiva weighing possibility of forming new right-wing party barring female candidates.

Eliran Aharon,

Har Hamor Yeshiva
Har Hamor Yeshiva
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Could another fracture on the Israeli Right be on the way, less than a month before the deadline for registering Knesset slates for the next election?

With no less than five parties expected to run to the right of the Likud in the September 17th election – Jewish Home, National Union, Otzma Yehudit, New Right, and Zehut – talks are underway for a number of potential alliances and joint lists.

The National Union and Jewish Home, which ran together with Otzma Yehudit in April, are likely to run again on the United Right ticket, while negotiations to bring Otzma back into the fold continue, after the faction bolted last month.

Zehut and the New Right, similarly, have weigh the possibility of a separate joint ticket, ensuring the two parties – which narrowly missed the electoral threshold in April – make it into the 22nd Knesset.

There have also been talks of a grand union of rightist parties, bringing together all five of the factions into the United Right list – a ticket which some polls show could win as many as 19 seats.

The talks of a potential grand alliance have raised concerns in some quarters, however, that former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked - who ran as the number two in the New Right in April 2019, and in the Jewish Home in 2013 and 2015 – could be tapped to lead the United Right alliance.

The prospect of a secular woman leading a predominantly Religious Zionist party has led some activists in the Har Hamor Yeshiva in Jerusalem to look into the possibility of forming a sixth right-wing faction, one which would include only male candidates for the Knesset, as haredi factions have done in every election since 1949.

A former senior aide to United Right chief and Education Minister Rafi Peretz, who broke away from the Jewish Home recently, is involved in the planning of the new party.

While Har Hamor dean Rabbi Tzvi Tau has refused to comment on the possibility of forming a new party, other yeshiva officials have warned that the school may turn against the United Right if it unites with the New Right and taps Ayelet Shaked to lead the joint ticket.




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