Thursday at midnight is the deadline for submitting lists of candidates for the 24th Knesset elections, to be conducted on March 23, and one of the most curious phenomena of this campaign, former Likud minister Gideon Saar’s Tikva Chadasha (New Hope) party has sent The Jewish Press Online its final list (presumably they also sent it to many other news outlets).
The list was submitted to the Central Elections Committee on Wednesday night by some of Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu most noteworthy foes within his coalition during the 23rd Knesset: MK Dr. Yifat Shasha Biton—Netanyahu’s Minister of Construction and Housing; Yoaz Hendel—Bibi’s Minister of Communications; and former Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Ofer Berkovitch.
The new party requested to be represented in the ballots by the Hebrew letter ת.
The polls have predicted New Hope would land anywhere from 14 to 22 mandates. It will likely compete with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid for second place, behind Netanyahu’s Likud party where many of them have spent their formative political years.
Gideon Saar, who had been bypassed by Bibi for a government portfolio after finishing in the top 5 spots in the Likud primaries, said, “I am extremely proud and excited to submit the New Hope party list, a united national list which reflects the diverse face of Israel. It is a mosaic of Israeli society, in terms of gender, geography, age, culture, and social groups. As we compiled this New Hope list of excellent candidates, so we will connect Israel and lead towards a future of stability and unity for Israel.”
But most of all, it’s a list of former Likud members who have had it with the current prime minister and vowed (but who will hold them to it?) – anyone but Bibi.
Here we go, the list, please (the names of senior former Likudniks in bold):
- Gideon Saar – party chairman and candidate for prime minister. Included in his previous posts are Minister of Education, Interior Minister, member of the Security Cabinet, member of seven Knessets, Cabinet Secretary in two governments, Coalition Chairman, and Chair of the Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women.
- Dr. Yifat Shasha Biton – MK and chair of the Corona Committee in the Knesset, former Minister of Construction & Housing, Chair of the Committee for the Rights of the Child. She served as Deputy Mayor of Kiryat Shemona, and has a doctorate in education.
- Zeev Elkin – former minister, Coalition Chairman, member of the Security Cabinet, Chair of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Chair of the Knesset Committee, and Likud Parliamentary Faction Chairman.
- Dr. Yoaz Hendel – MK, former Minister of Communications, and former prime head of the National Information Directorate. Served in the elite Shayetet 13 (Lt. Col. Res.), holds a doctorate in history.
- Sharren Haskel – former MK, and Deputy Knesset Speaker. Active in promoting free market policies, reducing bureaucracy, and individual freedoms.
- Benjamin Zeev Begin – former MK, minister and member of the Security Cabinet on behalf of Likud. Geologist by profession. Son of late Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
- Meir Yitzchak Halevi – Mayor of Eilat for 17 years. One of the founders of “Cities without Violence” initiative, which became a national movement. During his time as Mayor of Eilat, the city has been three times the recipient of the national education prize. He will be the first MK from Eilat.
- Zvi Hauser – MK, and Chair of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. He is a former Cabinet Secretary, and former Chairman of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council.
- Michal Shir – former MK in three Knessets. Served as a member of the Finance Committee, and on the Committee for the Rights of the Child. She has led legislation to provide tax benefits for residents of the periphery. She founded the Israeli Center for Political Training.
- Hila Shay Vazan – outgoing MK who served on the Corona Committee leading legislation to ensure the return of money to passengers whose flights were cancelled due to COVID-19. Founded the movement for the promotion of equal opportunities for men and women.
- Dani Dayan – former Consul General in New York, and former head of the Yesha Council. Born in Argentina.
- Michel Buskila – Deputy Mayor of Ashqelon. Chairman of the City Council for Trade and Industry, Environment, Government Relations. Member of the City Council for more than a decade. Chairman of several companies in the field of construction and entrepreneurship. Member of the Barzilai Hospital Association.
- Ofer Berkovitch – Chairman of the “Awakening” Movement in Jerusalem and a member of the city council for 13 years. Former deputy mayor of Jerusalem.
- Avi Ganon – former Director General of World ORT. Formerly in charge of Jewish Zionist education in Moscow on behalf of the Israeli Embassy. Active in strengthening ties with Diaspora Jewry and encouraging Aliyah.
- Michal Diamant – lawyer and member of the board of the Association for the Commemoration of the Heritage of Israeli Freedom Fighters (Lehi). She is the granddaughter of late Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir.
- Sahar Pinto – lawyer, served as the legal advisor of the Ramat Gan Municipality and ran an independent law firm. Serves as a member of the Gedera Local Council.
- Saher Ismail – representative of the Druze community. Engineer with a BA in education. Coordinator of local authorities for the Jewish National Fund. Former Adviser to the Minister of Education and Minister of the Interior.
- Alon Kisar – communications consultant. Previously served in senior positions such as VP of the Eurasian Jewish Congress and director of the Youth Exchange Council. He served as an advisor to the Minister of the Interior. Made Aliyah to Israel from Ukraine at the age of 10.
- Orna Davidai – lawyer. Vice Mayor and city council member for Petach Tikvah, where she holds the health and status of women portfolios and is chair of the environmental committee for the city. Formerly CEO of the Bnei Ayish local authority.
- Dovrat Weizer – accountant, Deputy Mayor of Ramat Hasharon, where she holds the education and status of women portfolios for the city.
- Natanel Itzik – Vice Mayor of Lod. Former chair of the national students’ organization of Israeli colleges, and member of the Council for Higher Education. Served as Chief of Staff in the Ministry of Economy, Ministry for the Galil and the Negev, and as a professional advisor in the Ministry of Education, and as Chief of Staff for Municipalities in the Interior Ministry.
- David Abbe – holds a BA in business administration and human resources. Egged member for over 30 years. Immigrated to Israel in 1985 from Ethiopia.
- Avi Kalma – LGBT community activist. Manager of the Orna Porat Theater, resident of Givat Shmuel.
- Rafi Ben Shitrit – former Mayor of Beit Shaan. Educator and expert in the field of informal education in youth villages and boarding schools. Served on the city council for 17 years, and former local Likud branch head.
- Sofia Ron Moria – journalist, publicist and lawyer. Former political commentator at Makor Rishon and Vesti newspapers. Made Aliyah to Israel in 1988 from the USSR where she taught Hebrew in the Leningrad underground.
- Hassan Hayib – (Lt. Col. Res.), for 19 years served as head of the Zarzir Regional Council, and as chair of the Bedouin Local Authorities governing body. Served as a director of the Pais Fund, and on the national infrastructure committee.
- Victor Tal – Deputy Mayor of Bat Yam. Served as member of the council for 30 years, held portfolios for sport, and business licensing, and was chair of the construction and housing committee for the city.
- Cila Tamir – lawyer, and Deputy Chair of the Knesset and Legislation Committee of the Bar Association. She served as chair of the Bar Association’s family committee, as a board member of government companies and as a board member of the Women’s Lobby in Israel. Former Chair of the Association for Proper Governance of the Dead Sea Development Company.
- Tzachi Dickstein – Chairman of the Judea and Samaria Resident’s Committee. Fomer CEO of the Ashkolot organization. (Lt. Col. Res.).
- Maly Levy – coordinator of the international business and trade organisation the Rotary Club for the Central-Eastern Europe and Governor of the Rotary Clubs in Israel.