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Eli Ben-Dahan May Blow Ichud Leumi/Tekuma Deal to Secure Slots on Bayit Yehudi Lineup

bdaDeputy Minister of Religious Services Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, who is a member of the Ichud Leumi/Tekuma faction of the Bayit Yehudi party, may torpedo efforts to security positions on the party lineup for some of his faction’s members. Ichud Leumi leader Housing Minister Uri Ariel threatened to break away from Bayit Yehudi if he and his colleagues are not guaranteed positions on the lineup. Last week it was reported that Ariel and party leader Naftali Bennett reached agreement and the factions would not be splitting up.

Ben-Dahan is number two on the Tekuma list and number four on the Bayit Yehudi list but he is not signaling he may run in the Bayit Yehudi primaries, confident he will earn a higher position. In actuality, Bayit Yehudi wants all the Tekuma faction members to compete for their slots but Ariel is trying to secure their positions.

At present Bayit Yehudi holds 12 seats, of which four are aligned with Ichud Leumi/Tekuma. Election funding laws only permits a party to receive funding and therefore, the money for the upcoming campaign remains with Bayit Yehudi, even if the faction splits. The funding is based on representation in the previous Knesset. The funding amounts to about 1 million shekels per person, thereby comprising the party’s election campaign budget.

Ben-Dahan feels that if Ichud Leumi runs independent of Bayit Yehudi it does not have a real chance of earning the minimum four seats required to get into Knesset. Therefore he wants to run for his spot on the Bayit Yehudi list in the party primary elections.

From Ariel’s perspective, with each passing day there are fewer days to campaign and Bennett will not want Ichud Leumi to break off at this time. Bennett has already agreed to secure two slots for Ariel’s faction but the latter believes he will get a third.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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