The Religious-Zionist party Bayit Yehudi on Tuesday elected a female party head for the first time in its history – Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Chagit Moshe.
Moshe received 472 votes, solidly defeating her competitor Nir Orbach, who won only 369 votes. Moshe’s victory over Orbach, who is close to Yamina leader Naftali Bennett, is an indicator that the party will align with other right-wing parties – Betzalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism party and Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit. After the results were announced, Moshe said that she is “committed to uniting Religious Zionism.”
This is a win for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as the Religous-Zionist right-wing parties will support him as prime minister, unlike Yamina, whose leader, Bennett, has announced that he is running with the intention to replace Netanyahu as prime minister. Yamina has moved away from a strict Religious Zionist identity, looking to appeal to non-religious right-wing voters.
Moshe’s victory followed the announcement of outgoing party chairman Rabbi Rafi Peretz two weeks ago that he is not running for leadership in the party primaries and is leaving political life for the time being.
In other political news, former Likud minister Benny Begin and son of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin announced on Thursday that he is joining Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party. Begin, 77, is a fierce critic of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)