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Naftali Bennett Takes HaBayit HaYehudi Leadership Race

Naftali Bennett emerged as the new leader of the dati leumi political community, now heading the Bayit HaYehudi Party. His win was a significant one, marking a new generation of leadership and a break from the traditional National Religious Party old guard. Bennett won with over 70% of the vote against MK Zevulun Orlev, a veteran MK who was backed by outgoing party leader Minister Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz.

Bennett represents the new generation and the new guard if you will, sending a message to the dati leumi community’ veteran’s leaders as well, as his name is synonymous with elite IDF units and the high tech world, not the hesder yeshiva torani world that was more in line with the old guard.

Bennett announced that he plans to telephone Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to express his desire to mend fences and maintain a good working relationship as he sees the party as being “a natural coalition with Likud following the elections.”

Leading dati leumi posek Rabbi Shlomo Aviner called on the dati leumi tzibur at large to express its hakarat hatov for Orlev’s years of service to the community. Orlev indicated that if he does not win the leadership race he would retire from Knesset.

Speaking to Israel Radio on Wednesday, Rabbi Chaim Druckman, a prominent senior rav in the dati leumi community expressed his total satisfaction over the fact the leadership was chosen in a democratic election, citing the fact that the dati leumi party has grown to over 50,000 registered members, adding to his optimism that the HaBayit HaYehudi will emerge in a big way following the national election.

Shas co-leader Aryeh Deri phoned Bennett to congratulate him and the two agreed to meet towards working together, realizing the need for cooperation towards maintaining the Jewish character of the nation in the new government.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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