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Orit Struk Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
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Yogev Photo: Yaron Brener
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Shatbon
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Habayit Hayehudi's radical side

Religious party's roster includes rabbi saying that same-sex marriage is 'recipe for demise of Jewish nation,' radical rightists who battled disengagement

Moran Azulay
Published: 01.03.13, 14:34 / Israel News

Recent surveys forecast the success of Habayit Hayehudi in the upcoming elections, warranting a closer look at the religious party's more obscure candidates.

 

A review of the top 15 spots on the party's Knesset ticket shows that quite a few radical-leaning politicians stand behind the party's chairman, Naftali Bennett. Some of them have caused a stir with comments made about gays and lesbians, same-sex marriages and women's rights.

 

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While members of Habyit Hayehudi have said they will not comment on sensitive issues, many on the list have justified Bennett's comments regarding refusal to obey Israel Defense Forces orders.

 

Second on the party list is MK Uri Ariel, currently chairman of the State Control Committee and a member of the Judicial Selection Committee. Ariel is regarded as having extreme right-wing opinions, and in the past has come out against the enlistment of homosexuals.

 

Ariel is followed by former MK Nissan Slomiansky and former Rabbinical Courts Director-General Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan. The latter recently caused an uproar when he claimed that same-sex marriages are "a recipe for the demise of the Jewish nation," and in the past, he supported doing away with the Knesset's Committee on the Status of Women.

 

Next in line are two candidates representing the party's moderate side: In fifth place, is Ayelet Shaked, the secularist from Tel Aviv who founded the "My Israel" movement. In sixth is Deputy Speaker of the Knesset MK Uri Orbach.

 

Spots seven and eight belong to Zvulun Kalfa and Avi Wurtzman, respectively. Kalfa was a prominent anti-disengagement activist, and as such was one of the leaders of the human chain that stretched from Gush Katif to Jerusalem in 2004.

 

Wurtzman is Beersheba's deputy mayor and holds the city's welfare portfolio.

 

In ninth place is another candidate who managed to ruffle some feathers: The former chief of Bnei Akiva, Moti Yogev, who came under fire for promoting sex segragation within the youth movement.  

 

In 10th place is a right-wing leader of the Jewish community in Hebron, Orit Struk, who made headlines when her son, Zvi Struk, was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for physically abusing a bound Palestinian teen.

 

Next on the ticket are Yoni Shatbon, founder of the "Raananim" religious Zionist youth movement, and Shuli Mualem, the widow of Moshe Mualem who was killed in the tragic 1997 IDF helicopter crash. She is also vice-president of the Organization of IDF Widows and Orphans.

 

In 13th place is Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, another member of Hebron's Jewish community. He is known as an hardline rightist and serves as the Nazareth Illit mayor's adviser for settlement affairs.

 

Next in line is Jeremy Gimpel, an attorney living in Gush Etzion who in the past helped promote Aliyah from the US.  

 

Nahi Eyal, one of the leaders in the struggle against the disengagement from Gush Katif and the founder of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel is number 15.

 

Habayit Hayehudi's tendencies did not go unnoticed by the Likud-Beiteinu, which launched an initiative branding the party as "anti-women." 

 

Moran Azulay is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent

 

 

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