Rabbi Peretz pressured to hold primaries in wake of polls

Pressure increases on Jewish Home leader to allow primaries after TV polls predict bleak outlook for religious Zionism.

Hezki Baruch ,

Rabbi Rafi Peretz
Rabbi Rafi Peretz
Kobi Richter/TPS

Polls published on Thursday night on Israel’s three main TV channels, which presented a bleak outlook for the Religious Zionist list in the next Knesset, have caused unrest among key activists in the Jewish Home party.

Following the publication of the polls, pressure was exerted on Jewish Home leader Rabbi Rafi Peretz to agree to hold primaries that will determine the religious Zionist slate for the Knesset, in the hope that such a move will renew the confidence of voters in the party.

For now, however, Rabbi Peretz refuses to agree to the demand, saying that the short time period remaining before the lists are finalized does not allow for primaries to be held.

Activists who spoke with Arutz Sheva claimed that Rabbi Peretz's opposition to primaries stems from the fear that he himself will not be able to win a spot at the top of the slate in light the public opinion of him.

The Director-General of the Jewish Home, Nir Orbach, also opposes primaries, having told Arutz Sheva on Thursday night that "all kinds of ideas such as unifying central committees and holding open primaries are very nice and sound good, but in the end, we are in an emergency. We are acting like we are in an emergency."

A Channel 12 News poll published on Thursday evening found that if the Jewish Home-Otzma Yehudit alliance cannot convince the National Union, headed by Bezalel Smotrich, to join it for a united ticket, both lists will fail to cross the 3.25% electoral threshold.

If, however, the National Union joins the Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit, the united ticket would narrowly clear the electoral threshold with four seats.

A second poll, conducted by Kantar for Channel 11, found that a united right-wing ticket of the Jewish Home, National Union, and Otzma Yehudit would fail to cross the 3.25% electoral threshold, receiving just 3.0% of the vote.

A third poll, conducted by Dialog for Channel 13, found that the Jewish Home-National Union-Otzma Yehudit ticket (if formed) would receive just 2.9%, below the 3.25% threshold.