Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday unveiled his New Right party’s slate in the upcoming April 9 elections, featuring an equal number of men and women in the 24 announced places, including a female majority in the top five, and vowed to not give up “a centimeter of the Land of Israel.”
The New Right formally presented its list to the Central Elections Committee later Wednesday morning, becoming the first party to do so.
Bennett revealed the slate in a post on Twitter, alongside a short campaign message: “We, Jewish, right-wing Israelis, are connected to our roots, the Torah of Israel, the people of Israel and the Land of Israel. We are religious, traditional and secular. We are one nation. Brothers.”
“We won’t give up a centimeter of the Land of Israel or a person from the people of Israel. We will unite, we will win. We are the New Right. Join us.”
The post featured the slogan “The right wing’s commando unit.”
Bennett is first on the list of candidates and his party co-leader, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, is second.
Jewish Home alumnus Shuli Moalem-Refaeli is fifth on the slate, with journalists Caroline Glick and Elyashiv Reichner rounding up the slots that, according to current polls, will guarantee a seat in the next Knesset.
הסיירת של הימין pic.twitter.com/HurQygyHrP
— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) February 20, 2019
Surveys over the last month have predicted seven to 10 seats for the party, although that could change in the month and a half left until the vote. In the 2015 elections, a comment by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on election day about Arab voters “coming out in droves to the polls” is widely believed to have taken three to four seats from the Jewish Home party — which was led by Bennett and Shaked at the time — and transferred them to Likud.
Eighth on the slate is Rabbi Uri Schechter of the Tzohar rabbinical organization, and ninth is educator Amichai Chikli. The tenth spot is taken by disabled rights activist Shirley Pinto, who would be the first-ever deaf Knesset member if elected.
French-immigrant lawyer Yomtob Kalfon, who joined the party on Tuesday, and deputy director of the Kohelet Forum Ron Bar-Yoshafat, are 11th and 12th, respectively, meaning their chances of becoming lawmakers seem slim.
The full list had 24 candidates.
Israel’s political parties have until a Thursday deadline to submit their lists of candidates for the April 9 elections.
In December, Bennett and Shaked quit the Jewish Home party and established the New Right (HaYamin HeHadash), a party they said was based on “full partnership” between Orthodox and secular Israelis.
The party was the first to present its Knesset slate to the Central Elections Committee on Wednesday morning.
Speaking to journalists before officially filing the list with committee chairman Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer and its director general, Orli Hadas, Shaked said, “We are today presenting an excellent list, an ideologically right-wing party in the political, economic, security and legal spheres.”
In an appeal to Likud voters, which the new party is hoping to court, Shaked added, “It is clear that Netanyahu will be the prime minister. The question is, which government will he form — with the New Right or with [Benny] Gantz’s leftist party?”
Presenting the list to Melcer, Shaked, alongside party number three Barkat, also filed a request for the new party to use the Hebrew letter nun to represent it on ballot slips on election day.
“It represents the [last letter] in Yemin (meaning “right”),” Shaked told Melcer.
“I thought it might be because of Naftali [Bennett],” he joked in response, referring to Shaked’s joint party chair.
Earlier Wednesday, New Right signed a deal with Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party to exchange surplus votes, reportedly after Jewish Home refused New Right’s offer for such an agreement.
Under Israel’s system of pure proportional representation, a “surplus votes” agreement ensures votes cast for the two parties aren’t lost when the Knesset seats are allocated after elections. Such an agreement would cause both parties to be considered as running on a joint slate when leftover seats are distributed.
New Right’s top 15 candidates for Knesset elections on April 9, 2019:
1. Naftali Bennett
2. Ayelet Shaked
3. Alona Barkat
4. Matan Kahana
5. Shuli Moalem-Refaeli
6. Caroline Glick
7. Elyashiv Reichner
8. Uri Schechter
9. Amichai Chikli
10. Shirley Pinto
11. Yomtob Kalfon
12. Ron Bar-Yoshafat
13. Roni Sassover
14. Moshe Peled
15. Yochai Ezra