F-16 Pilot and Army Buddy of Bennett's Joins New Right-wing Party

Matan Kahana becomes member of Bennett and Shaked's Hayamin Hehadash ■ Meretz overturns decision, allows Mossi Raz to run for Knesset again

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Matan Kahana.
Matan Kahana.Credit: Avichai Socher

Hayamin Hehadash, the new party formed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, announced on Friday that it has recruited another member ahead of the April 9 election.

Matan Kahana, a former pilot and colonel who recently retired from the military, has joined the new party, which Bennett and Shaked formed after breaking away from Habayit Hayehudi.

Kahana served as an F-16 pilot and squadron commander after being enlisted in the elite commando unit Sayaret Matkal, where he served alongside Bennett in the early 1990s. After leaving the military, Kahana was the director of the Diaspora Project for the Education Ministry, working at the Center for Educational Technology.

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Kahana is the third new face recruited by Hayamin Hehadash (the New Right) after Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick and activist Shirley Pinto. MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli also left Habayit Hayehudi for the new right-wing party.

Recent opinion polls have shown Hayamin Hehadash winning between six and 14 Knesset seats in the upcoming election.

Meretz overturns decision, allows Mossi Raz to run for Knesset again

Knesset member Mossi Raz will be allowed to run for a place on the Meretz slate for the next Knesset election, the party’s internal court ruled on Friday.

The Meretz convention voted last month not to allow Raz, the former secretary general of the left-wing party, to run again because of a clause in the party's constitution stating that a former secretary general cannot later run for a spot on the slate for the term after he leaves the post. A 60-percent majority of the convention was needed to change the constitution to allow Raz to run, but the change was approved by only 57 percent of those voting.

Raz worked hard over the past few months to change the constitution, saying the clause was not proportional. A large number of former Meretz leaders supported the change, including Zehava Galon, Haim Oron and Yossi Beilin – as well as most of the present Meretz MKs.

When asked why she did not sponsor the change, Meretz chairwoman Tamar Zandberg told Haaretz that as party chairwoman she does not sign petitions.

For the first time, Meretz will hold an open primary on February 14. Anyone who joins the party by Sunday will be able to vote in the primary – as opposed to all the other parties that hold primaries, who long ago closed their membership roles for the coming primaries.

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