The National Union (HaIchud HaLeumi)’s reaction to Eldad and Ben-Ari’s announcement: “The Israeli political left-wing is elated at the news that our partners are splitting away and setting up a new party, because it means that tens of thousands of right-wing votes will be wasted, and that we have returned to the type of politics that brought about the Oslo Accords. We have always promoted unity in the National and National-Orthodox camps and we are sorry that our partners, who oppose running together with the Bayit Yehudi in the upcoming elections, have not learned the lessons of the past, which brought us the ‘victims of peace’. ”
Posts Tagged ‘Bayit Yehudi’
Businessman and former Sayeret Matkal (Special Forces) officer Naftali Bennett parachuted his way into the top position of the Bayit Yehudi (“Jewish Home”) party on Tuesday, at the first of two Primary votes. The second vote will be for the party list.
The next challenge that Bennett has in front of him will be to integrate all of the Ichud Leumi party members into the party, so that they will run as one large list.
The Bayit Yehudi party represents the Religious-Zionist sector.
3:46 AM (Wednesday – Israel Time) Naftali Bennett is the winner of the Bayit Yehudi primaries, with 67% of the vote, and Orlev with 32%. A small number of votes are left to be counted on Wednesday. Final results will be officially announced by the party at 10:00 AM.
12:03 AM (Wednesday) Zevulun Orlev has announced his retirement from politics. Bennett is the new head of the Bayit Yehudi party.
11:35 PM With 40% of the votes counted, Bennet has 9429 votes, and Orlev has 3829 votes.
The ballot count is currently in progress in the primary race between Naftali Bennett and Zevulun Orlev for the head of the Bayit Yehudi party.
The count so far indicates that Bennett is leading with some 70% of the votes.
There are reports that Bennett plans to announce his victory at midnight.
Following a short but intense membership drive, the Bayit Yehudi party announced that over 53,000 members have signed up. This number is expected to drop to around 48,000 once duplicates and disqualified applications are filtered out. More than half signed up via the Internet.
While this number still falls short of the 70,000 that the Bayit Yehudi candidates claimed to have brought in all together, it is above the 40,000 count that was unofficially released almost 2 weeks ago. More importantly, the number is reminiscent of the membership numbers the Mafdal party (as it was formerly called, as well as NRP – National Religious Party) used to have in it’s heyday, perhaps indicating that this National-Religious Party is making a comeback from irrelevancy.
In the last election, Bayit Yehudi had only 3 Knesset seats, while at it’s peak it had 12 seats.
One factor that will help Bayit Yehudi in the upcoming elections is if it decides to run together with the religious, right-wing National Union party (Ichud Haleumi). Polls have indicated the 2 parties will do better if they run together on a joint list, rather than if they run separately.
Jeremy Gimpel and Ari Abramowitz passed the 3000 mark today in their membership drive to gain realistic seats in the Bayit Yehudi party list for Knesset.
Ari and Jeremy are American Olim, best known for their pro-Israel show ‘Tuesday Night Live‘ and their pro-Israel videos. They’re running as a team, though only one expects to get in.
These 3000 new party members give Ari and Jeremy the largest individual bloc of voters, outside of the voter blocs that the candidates who are running for head of the party are claiming to have.
While it’s not clear if these 3000 voters will be enough to win them a seat in the Knesset, it may be enough to put them in the position of kingmaker in the Bayit Yehudi primaries.
The other candidates who are running for head of the Bayit Yehudi party are each claiming voter blocs in the tens of thousands. The only problem is that when you add all their numbers up, the total numbers begin to sound unrealistic.One candidate for party chairman seems to be claiming he signed up over 14,000 members in the space of a week.
More likely, there is a tremendous amount of membership overlap between the blocs that each candidate is claiming exclusively as his own.
If that’s the case, then Ari and Jeremy may be in a better position that they realize.
(Update) According to unofficial numbers released this morning, 40,000 people signed up in total, 21,000 of them via the internet. But the totals listed by the candidates add up to over 70,000. That leaves a bit of a discrepency.
On September 20th, the official Bayit Yehudi voter list will be released. On November 6, voting for the Bayit Yehudi chairman will be held, and on November 13, voting will be held for the Knesset list.
A very large crowd of “Anglo” olim stood in line Wednesday night at Heןchal Shlomo, the Jewish Heritage Center in Jerusalem, to hear Jeremy Gimpel and Ari Abramowitz speak about the Bayit Yehudi Party.
Bayit Yehudi literally means Jewish home, one that potential party leaders want to fill with religious ideology, but also with an open door that welcomes all types of Jews.
The entry hall had a lot of elderly couples and a few youngsters hovering around the rugelach table. The goal was to persuade attendees to sign up to vote as party members so they could participate in the upcoming primaries.
Ari and Jeremy are focusing on the English speaking community because they want the group to have more of a voice. Their communicative abilities were demonstrated on stage. Energetic and dynamic performers, they expressed their points clearly. Almost too clearly. It felt like the scenes were scripted.
The videos shown throughout the session mimicked the feeling. They were professionally put together and definitely entertaining, but seemed more fitting for a late-night talk show than a political gathering. One featured the two on Ben Yehuda Street, asking advice about running for the Knesset and the issues that are really in people’s minds.
It was humorous and a little frightening to see some of the ignorance out there. It’s clear that Ari and Jeremy have the passion for the position and the desire to connect with many more than those the Knesset does now, but I felt myself yearning for a little more reality in their message.
There’s no doubt that the two men can relate to an audience. You feel like you could talk to them as if they were your neighbors and you were both running out to pick up the paper. Despite this, it’s what they said that distanced me from them. Clichés were rampant. It felt staged.
“Every Israeli is an oleh,” and “If we’re in, then we’re all in,” were some of the phrases tossed to the audience. It’s not that I disagree with their message. I don’t think many right-minded Jews would disagree with the sentiment of Am Yisrael or Eretz Yisrael. But I felt infantilized. It wasn’t dialogue, it was just a show.
The presentation got more interesting when they brought out two of the candidates running for head of the party. Zevulun Orlev, Current MK and former party leader, couldn’t make the event, but Naftali Bennett, Benjamin Netanyahu’s former Chief of Staff and CEO and co-founder of a successful hi-tech company, and Minister Daniel Hershkowitz, current party leader and Minister of Science and Technology, were there to answer questions from Ari and Jeremy.
The two candidates come from very different backgrounds, but both connected on main ideals.
Bennett focused on the vision. “The vision is a nation based not on only on Herzl, but on the Torah,” he said.
Hershkowitz agreed: “Without Torah, there are no Jewish people, and without avodah (labor), there are no Jewish people,” he said.
Despite the fact that they’re running against each other, Hershkowitz’s final message was that he thinks they would make a wonderful team in leading Bayit Yehudi.
The idea was that members of the audience, with the future leader, and with Ari and Jeremy, could make a difference.
“We’re here because we made Aliyah,” Jeremy said. “Now we have to keep making Aliyah.”
The night left me with a sudden urge to hold hands with some friends and sing songs by a campfire. Zionism is important, and maybe one day, ten or twenty years from now, the number of Jews in Israel will increase tremendously. Still, the presentation’s lack of a sense of reality made it seem more like a fantasy then a possibility.
I hope that the party succeeds, but in order to do so, they may need a more widespread approach injected with a little more realism.
Bennett said, “Let’s turn the state of the Jews into the Jewish state.” It’s been a wish of many for nearly a century. Maybe I’ll see the dream become reality in my lifetime.