JERUSALEM (Apr. 6)
Yitzhak Raphael, former leader of the National Religious Party and Minister of Religion, failed yesterday in an attempt to have the courts challenge the NRP’s decision to oust him from the Knesset list. A Tel Aviv judge ruled that the court’s jurisdiction in the affairs of political parties, which are voluntary bodies, was severely limited and he would not, therefore, interfere in the NRP’s electoral process.
Raphael was ousted two weeks ago after two of his erstwhile lieutenants, Knesseter Aharon Abu-Hatzera and David Glass, the former director general of the Religious Ministry, lined up with his foes from other factions to topple him. The party majority amended the voting rules deliberately so as to facilitate his removal, but the judge refused to challenge the action. Raphael and his remaining supporters are now reportedly setting up their own independent faction to fight at the election.
If they decide to do so they will demand a share of the NRP’s government financing for the election campaign, a demand likely to be opposed by Abu-Hatzera and Glass who contend they are the rightful and acknowledged leaders now of the “Likud Utemura” (Unity and Change) faction which Raphael led.