Hours before the voting in the Jewish Home primaries is scheduled to begin, Batya Kahana-Dror announced on Facebook that she is removing her candidacy.
Kahana-Dror heads Mavoi Satum, an NGO that is sponsored by the New Israel Fund, which fights for the rights of agunot and mesoravot get – women who are unable to obtain a divorce decree, either because the husband cannot be located or because he refuses to grant the decree (“get”).
Kahana-Dror came under attack within the religious Zionist camp after she was quoted as saying that she supports the establishment of a Palestinian state.
On her Facebook page, Kahana-Dror wrote Wednesday that she had taken a “very courageous” decision when she announced her candidacy, less than a month ago, and had not bothered to find out what her chances of success would be. "My candidacy shook the Jewish Home to its foundations and caused various centers of power and wheeler-dealership inside the party to rise up and try to block my voice, which represents many Israelis, male and female.”
"I was thoroughly ill-treated – from Bennett's cold shoulder, to being kept out of election rallies and panels with other candidates, frontal and organized assaults, not just from the hardali [hareidi-religious-Zionist] sector, as well as deliberate distortion of my views and mudslinging.”
This happened, she said, “because I, a religious and nationalist, feminist and liberal woman – was holding up a mirror through my candidacy. And in the mirror, one sees that my brothers and sisters from the Jewish Home are not raising the flag that the nation of Israel, in Israel and the world, yearns for – the flag of renewal on matters of religion and of state. They prefer, instead, to maintain the existing order and leave the leadership in the hands of extremists, in matters religious and national.
"I came to understand that even if I am elected to serve in the Knesset alongside members of the faction, my hands will remain tied and my influence will be silenced,” she wrote.
The New Israel Fund has been exposed, in recent years, as a fund that is controlled by the extreme left. Another candidate in the Jewish Home primaries, Ronen Shoval, spearheaded a campaign that showed that NIF-sponsored groups provided more than 90% of the "Israeli" statements cited in the infamous Goldstone Report that accused Israel of war crimes in Operation Cast Lead. Shoval is seen as having a good chance of winning a realistic spot in the Jewish Home list.