In order to secure a good spot, candidates band together, cross endorsing each other to ensure mutual victory.
According to the strategist, the Jewish Home will have two rounds of voting. The first on November 6th for the party chairman, who will be number one on the list, and the second on November 13th for the rest of the list.
In the second round, members of the Jewish Home will be able to choose five candidates and rank their level of preference.
That means that if Bennett becomes the party chairman he will be able to endorse up to five others, no more. If he loses the race for chairman and has to compete in the second round, he will only be able to endorse four others aside from himself.
Currently the Jewish Home has three Knesset seats, while the National Union has four. Many polls and strategists predict that if they ran together they would receive a few more than they could running separately.
If they do run together, the arrangement will likely be that the parties would get alternate spots the list – odds for one, evens for the other.
But even together, there aren’t many positions available. Being number five on the Jewish Home list, for example, likely means being excluded from the Knesset. This makes the competition within the party – even among allies – all the more fierce.
Bennett is over extended, the strategist claims. He has to endorse MK Uri Orbach, the only Jewish Home MK who is not running for chairman and who has backed Bennett in the leadership race. Another is Ayelet Shaked who worked with Bennett when Bennett was Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister. The strategist named at least five more politicians Bennett will have to appease.
Therefore the strategist claims that Bennett needs to clear the way in order to make room for additional candidates so he can garner as much support as possible and fulfill all his commitments. Removing three of the National Union MKs would enable him to do that.
No Admission of Defeat
While the repeated and vague references in Abramowitz and Gimpel’s statement and e-mail message to not getting into the Knesset seem to indicate that the candidates may have lost confidence in their changes of success, their campaign manager, Jeremy Saltan, said the opposite was the case.
“We are very confident that at least one of them will get a secure spot,” Saltan said over the telephone. Saltan, who is also of American origin, says the campaign has built a base of thousands of new members who will vote for Abramowitz and Gimpel in the November 13 primary.
But “for them it’s about ideology and unity,” Saltan said. Therefore he says they are “genuinely and sincerely willing to sacrifice a place in the Knesset, if it comes to it, in order to unite the national religious camp.”
Practically, this would mean endorsing a candidate for the leadership of the party, even if that candidate could not necessarily provide Abramowitz and Gimpel the requisite support to ensure they receive at least one good spot on the list.
According to Abramowitz and Gimpel, a secure spot on a small list at a time when the national-religious camp is divided is just not worth it.
“The difference between one unified block and small independent parties is the difference between relevance and irrelevance during a time when the Nation needs to hear our voice more than ever before,” they said in the statement.
Disclaimer: The author is involved with the Likud party, but all information contained in the article was provided by independent sources from the Jewish Home and/or National Union.