The 54,000 registered members of HaBayit HaYehudi on Tuesday may elect to exercise their right to vote for the next party leader. There are 168 polling stations nationwide that will be open for seven hours.
What is known in advance of the vote is that current party leader Science Minister Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz will not be the new leader and the race is between Naftali Bennett and Zevulun Orlev.
The candidates are busy using the electronic media and social networks to win over voters while persuading them to get out and vote. Polls will be operating from 15:00 to 22:00.
Special accommodations have been made for yeshiva students, including Yeshivot Hesder, to permit them to vote in their area and not lose time from learning. The results are expected on Wednesday morning.
Orlev is from the old guard of the National Religious Party while Bennett is considerably younger. Orlev is more set on maintaining a dati leumi party while Bennett favors widening the party’s support base to include non-religious right-wingers too.
66, married with four children. He resides in Yerushalayim and is leadership bid is backed by current leader Rabbi Hershkowitz. If he fails in this bid he plans to retire from Knesset. In the past he has served as director-general of the Ministries of Education and Religious Affairs. He served as a MK for 13 years. He maintains good relations with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
40, married with four children. He resides in Ra’anana. His leadership bid is backed by party MK Uri Orbach. He served as an officer in Sayeret Matkal and commander in the elite Maglan unit. At the age of 26 he co-founded a high tech company that was sold for $145 million seven years later. When Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was head of the opposition, Bennett headed his election campaign. He was the director-general of the Settlement Council and waged an unrelenting war against the construction freeze in yishuvim. He and the prime minister are not on the best of terms.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)