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Naftali Bennett elected Jewish Home Party head

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s national religious Jewish Home party (Habayit Hayehudi) elected newcomer Naftali Bennett as its leader.

Bennett defeated party stalwart Zevulun Orlev for the party leadership with about 67 percent of the vote. Primaries were held for the party leadership on Tuesday, the same day as elections in the United States. Nearkly 54,000 party members were eligible to vote. The party is part of the governing coalition and has three Knesset seats.

Bennett, a resident of the Tel Aviv suburb of Raanana, served as chief of staff for Benjamin Netanyahu when he was opposition leader. Bennett later became chairman of the Yesha Council, which represents Jews who live in the West Bank. He is the co-founder of the organization My Israel.

The current party leader, Science and Technology Minister Daniel Herschkowitz, took himself out of contention last month.

Following the results, Orlev announced that he would retire from the Knesset.

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